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Gift of the Friends of the 
Library, Trinity College 






Author of "Easy Lesson in Psychoanalysis 
"Psychoanalysis, its History, Theory and 
Practice," "Psychoanalysis and 
Behavior" and "Psycho 
analysis, Sleep and 



Copyright Introduction, 1921, by 


I O 


THE medical profession is justly conservative. 
Human life should not be considered as the proper 
material for wild experiments. 

Conservatism, however, is too often a welcome 
excuse for lazy minds, loath to adapt themselves to 
fast changing conditions. 

Remember the scornful reception which first was 
accorded to Freud s discoveries in the domain of the 

When after years of patient observations, he 
finally decided to appear before medical bodies to 
tell them modestly of some facts which always re 
curred in his dream and his patients dreams, he 
was first laughed at and then avoided as a crank. 

The words "dream interpretation" were and still 
are indeed fraught with unpleasant, unscientific 
associations. They remind one of all sorts of child 
ish, superstitious notions, which make up the thread 
and woof of dream books, read by none but the 
ignorant and the primtive. 

The wealth of detail, the infinite care never to let 

anything pass unexplaned, with which he presented 



to the public the result of his investigations, are 
impressing more and more serious-minded scientists, 
but the examination of his evidential data demands 
arduous work and presupposes an absolutely open 

This is why we still encounter men, totally un 
familiar with Freud s writings, men who were not 
even interested enough in the subject to attempt an 
interpretation of their dreams or their patients 
dreams, deriding Freud s theories and combatting 
them with the help of statements which he never 

Some of them, like Professor Boris Sidis, reach at 
times conclusions which are strangely similar to 
Freud s, but in their ignorance of psychoanalytic 
literature, they fail to credit Freud for observations 
antedating theirs. 

Besides those who sneer at dream study, because 
they have never looked into the subject, there are 
those who do not dare to face the facts revealed by 
dream study. Dreams tell us many an unpleasant 
biological truth about ourselves and only very free 
minds can thrive on such a diet. Self-deception is 
a plant which withers fast in the pellucid atmosphere 
of dream investigation. 

The weakling and the neurotic attached to his 
neurosis are not anxious to turn such a powerful 


searchlight upon the dark corners of their psy 

Freud s theories are anything but theoretical. 

He was moved by the fact that there always 
seemed to be a close connection between his patients 
dreams and their mental abnormalities, to collect 
thousands of dreams and to compare them with the 
case histories in his possession. 

He did not start out with a preconceived bias, 
hoping to find evidence which might support his 
views. He looked at facts a thousand times "until 
they began to tell him something." 

His attitude toward dream study was, in other 
words, that of a statistician who does not know,. and 
has no means of foreseeing, what conclusions will be 
forced on him by the information he is gathering, 
but who is fully prepared to accept those unavoid 
able conclusions. 

This was indeed a novel way in psychology. 
Psychologists had always been wont to build, in 
what Bleuler calls "autistic ways," that is through 
methods in no wise supported by evidence, some at 
tractive hypothesis, which sprung from their brain, 
like Minerva from Jove s brain, fully armed. 

After which, they would stretch upon that un 
yielding frame the hide of a reality which they had 
previously killed. 


It is only to minds suffering from the same dis 
tortions, to minds also autistically inclined, that 
those empty, artificial structures appear acceptable 
molds for philosophic thinking. 

The pragmatic view that "truth is what works" 
had not been as yet expressed when Freud published 
his revolutionary views on the psychology of dreams. 

Five facts of first magnitude were made obvious 
to the world by his interpretation of dreams. 

First of all, Freud pointed out a constant con 
nection between some part of every dream and some 
detail of the dreamer s life during the previous wak 
ing state. This positively establishes a relation be 
tween sleeping states and waking states and dis 
poses of the widely prevalent view that dreams are 
purely nonsensical phenomena coming from no 
where and leading nowhere. 

Secondly, Freud, after studying the dreamer s 
life and modes of thought, after noting down all 
his mannerisms and the apparently insignificant 
details of his conduct which reveal his secret 
thoughts, came to the conclusion that there .was. .in. 
.every dream the attempted or successful gratifica 
tion of some wish, conscious or unconscious. 

Thirdly, he proved that many of our dream 
visions are .symbolical, which causes us to consider 
them as absurd and unintelligible; the universality 


of those symbols, however, makes them very; trans 
parent to the trained observer. 

Fourthly, Freud showed that sexual desires play 
an enormous part in our unconscious, a part which 
puritanical hypocrisy has always tried to minimize, 
if not to ignore entirely. 

Finally, Freud established a direct connection be 
tween dreams and insanity, between the symbolic 
visions of our sleep and the symbolic actions of the 
mentally deranged. 

There were, of course, many other observations 
which Freud made while dissecting the dreams of his 
patients, but not all of them present as much inter 
est as the foregoing nor were they as revolutionary 
or likely to wield as much influence on modern 

Other explorers have struck the path blazed by 
Freud and leading into man s unconscious. Jung 
of Zurich, Adler of Vienna and Kempf of Wash 
ington, D. C., have made to the study of the un 
conscious, contributions which have brought that 
study into fields which Freud himself never dreamt 
of invading. 

One fact which cannot be too emphatically stated, 
however, is that but for Freud s wishfulfillment 
theory of dreams, neither Jung s "energic theory," 
nor Adler s theory of "organ inferiority and com- 


pensation," nor Kempf s "dynamic mechanism" 
might have been formulated. 

Freud is the father of modern abnormal psychol 
ogy and he established the psychoanalytical point of ^ 
view. No one who is not well grounded in Freud 
ian lore can hope to achieve any work of value in 
the field of psychoanalysis. 

On the other hand, let no one repeat the absurd 
assertion that Freudism is a sort of religion bounded 
with dogmas and requiring an act of faith. Freud- 
ism as such was merely a stage in the development 
of psychoanalysis, a stage out of which all but a 
few bigoted camp followers, totally lacking in orig 
inality, have evolved. Thousands of stones have 
been added to the structure erected by the Viennese 
physician and many more will be added in the course 
of time. 

But the new additions to that structure would col 
lapse like a house of cards but for the original foun 
dations which are as indestructible as Harvey s 
statement as to the circulation of the blood. 

Regardless of whatever additions or changes have 
been made to the original structure, the analytic 
point of view remains unchanged. 

That point of view is not only .revolutionising all 
the methods of diagnosis and treatment of mental 
derangements, but compelling the intelligent, up-to- 


date physician to revise entirely his attitude to al 
most every kind of disease. 

The insane are no longer absurd and pitiable peo 
ple, to be herded in asylums till nature either cures 
them or relieves them, through death, of their mis 
ery. The insane who have not been made so by 
actual injury to their brain or nervous system, are 
the victims of unconscious forces which cause them 
to do abnormally things which they might be helped 
to do normally. 

Insight into one s psychology is replacing victo 
riously sedatives and rest cures. 

Physicians dealing with "purely" physical cases 
have begun to take into serious consideration the 
"mental" factors which have predisposed a patient 
to certain ailments. 

Freud s views have also made a revision of all 
ethical and social values unavoidable and have 
thrown an unexpected flood of light upon literary 
and artistic accomplishment. 

But the Freudian point of view, or more broadly 
speaking, the psychoanalytic point of view, shall 
ever remain a puzzle to those who, from laziness or 
indifference, refuse to survey with the great Vien 
nese the field over which he carefully groped his 
way. We shall never be convinced until we repeat 
under his guidance all his laboratory experiments. 


We must follow him through the thickets of the 
unconscious, through the land which had never been 
charted because academic philosophers, following 
the line of least effort, had decided a priori that it 
could not be charted. 

Ancient geographers, when exhausting their store 
of information about distant lands, yielded to an 
unscientific craving for romance and, without any 
evidence to support their day dreams, filled the 
blank spaces left on their maps by unexplored tracts 
with amusing inserts such as "Here there are lions." 

Thanks to Freud s interpretation of dreams the 
"royal road" into the unconscious is now open to all 
explorers. They shall not find lions, they shall find 
man himself, and the record of all his life and of his 
struggle with reality. 

And it is only after seeing man as his unconscious, 
revealed Jb.y his dreams, presents him to us that we 
shall understand him fully. For as Freud said to 
Putnam: "We are what we are because we have 
been what we have been." 

Not a few serious-minded students, however, have 
been discouraged from attempting a study of 
Freud s dream psychology. 

The book in which he originally offered to the 
world his interpretation of dreams was as circum 
stantial as a legal record to be pondered over by 


scientists at their leisure, not to be assimilated in a 
few hours by the average alert reader. In those 
days, Freud could not leave out any detail likely 
to make his extremely novel thesis evidentially ac 
ceptable to those willing to sift data. 

Freud himself, however, realized the magnitude 
of the task which the reading of his magnum 
opus imposed upon those who have not been 
prepared for it by long psychological and scientific 
training and he abstracted from that gigantic work 
the parts which constitute the essential of his dis 

The publishers of the present book deserve credit 
for presenting to the reading pubic the gist of 
Freud s psychology in the master s own words, and 
in a form which shall neither discourage beginners, 
nor appear too elementary to those who are more 
advanced in psychoanalytic study. 

Dream psychology is the key to Freud s works 
#nd to all modern psychology. With a simple, 
compact manual such as Dream Psychology there 
shall be no longer any excuse for ignorance of the 
most revolutionary psychological system of modern 


121 Madison Avenue, New York. 
November, 1920. 















IN what we may term "prescientific days" people 
were in no uncertainty about the interpretation of 
dreams. When they were recalled after awaken 
ing they were regarded as either the friendly or 
hostile manifestation of some higher powers, de 
moniacal and Divine. With the rise of scientific 
thought the whole of this expressive mythology was 
transferred to psychology; to-day there is but a 
small minority among educated persons who doubt 
that the dream is the dreamer s own psychical act. 
But since the downfall of the mythological hypo 
thesis an interpretation of the dream has been want 
ing. The conditions of its origin; its relationship 
to our psychical life when we are awake; its inde 
pendence of disturbances which, during the state 
of sleep, seem to compel notice; its many pecul 
iarities repugnant to our waking thought; the in- 
congruence between its images and the feelings they 
engender ; then the dream s evanescence, the way in 


which, on awakening, our thoughts thrust it aside 
as something bizarre, and our reminiscences muti 
lating or rejecting it all these and many other 
problems have for many hundred years demanded 
answers which up till now could never have been 
satisfactory. Before all there is the question as to 
the meaning of the dream, a question which is in 
itself double-sided. There is, firstly, the psychical 
significance of the dream, its position with regard 
to the psychical processes, as to a possible biological 
function; secondly, has the dream a meaning can 
sense be made of each single dream as of other 
mental syntheses? 

Three tendencies can be observed in the estima 
tion of dreams. Many philosophers have given 
currency to one of these tendencies, one which at 
the same time preserves something of the dream s 
former over-valuation. The foundation of dream 
life is for them a peculiar state of psychical activity, 
which they even celebrate ais elevation to some 
Jiigher state. Schubert, for instance, claims: 
"The dream is the liberation of the spirit from the 
pressure of external nature, a detachment of the 
soul from the fetters of matter." Not all go so 
far as this, but many maintain that dreams have 
their origin in real spiritual excitations, and are the 
outward manifestations of spiritual powers whose 


free movements have been hampered during the day 
("Dream Phantasies," Schemer, Volkelt). A 
large number of observers acknowledge that dream 
life is capable of extraordinary achievements at 
any rate, in certain fields ("Memory"). 

In striking contradiction with this the majority 
of medical writers hardly admit that the dream is a 
psychical phenomenon at all. According to them 
dreams are provoked and initiated exclusively by 
stimuli proceeding from the._sensejs_Qr..the-..bQdy > 
which either reach the sleeper from without or are, 
accidental disturbances of his internal organs. The 
dream has no greater claim to meaning and im 
portance than the sound called forth by the ten 
fingers of a person quite unacquainted with music 
running his fingers over the keys of an instrument. 
The dream is to be regarded, says Binz, "as a phy 
sical process always useless, frequently morbid." 
All the peculiarities of dream life are jexplicable as 
the incoherent effort, due to some physiological 
stimulus, of certain organs, or of the cortical ele 
ments of a brain otherwise asleep. 

But slightly affected by scientific opinion and 
untroubled as to the origin of dreams, the popular 
view holds firmly to the belief that dreams really 
have got a meaning, in some way they do foretell 
the future, whilst the meaning can be unravelled 


in some way or other from its oft bizarre and en 
igmatical content. The reading of dreams consists 
in replacing the events of the dream, so far as re 
membered, by other events. This is done either 
scene by scene, according to some rigid key, or the 
dream as a whole is replaced by something else of 
which it was a symbol, Serious-minded persons 
laugh at these efforts "Dreams are but sea- 

One day I discovered to my amazement that the 
popular view grounded in superstition, and not the 
medical one, comes nearer to the, truth about dreams. 
I arrived at new conclusions about dreams by the 
use of a new method of psychological investigation, 
one which had rendered me good service in the in 
vestigation of phobias, obsessions, illusions, and the 
like, and which, under the name "psycho-analysis," 
had found acceptance by a whole school of investi 
gators. The manifold analogies of dream lifejwitlL 
the most diverse conditions of psychical disease in 
the waking state have been rjghtly insisted upon by 
a number of medical observers. It seemed, there 
fore, a priori, hopeful to apply to the interpretation 
of dreams methods of investigation which had been 
tested in psychopathological processes. Obsessions 
and those peculiar sensations of haunting dread re 
main as strange to normal consciousness as do 


dreams to our waking consciousness ; their origin is 
as unknown to consciousness as is that of dreams. 
It was practical ends that impelled us, in these dis 
eases, to fathom their origin and formation. Ex 
perience had shown us that a cure and a consequent 
mastery of the obsessing ideas did result when once 
those thoughts, the connecting links between the 
morbid ideas and the rest of the psychical content, 
were revealed which were heretofore veiled from 
consciousness. The procedure I employed for the 
interpretation of dreams thus arose from psycho 

This procedure is readily described, although its 
practice demands instruction and experience. 
Suppose the patient is suffering from intense mor 
bid dread. He is requested to direct his attention 
to the idea in question, without, however, as he has 
so frequently done, meditating upon it. Every im 
pression about it, without any exception, which oc 
curs to him should be imparted to the doctor. The 
statement which will be perhaps then made, that 
he cannot concentrate his attention upon anything 
at all, is to be countered by assuring him most posi 
tively that such a blank state of mind is utterly im 
possible. As a matter of fact, a great number of 
impressions will soon occur, with which others will 
associate themselves. These will be invariably ac- 


companied by the expression of the observer s opin 
ion that they have no meaning or are unimportant. 
It will be at once noticed that it is this self-criticism^ 
which prevented the patient from imparting the 
ideas, which had indeed already excluded them from 
consciousness. If the patient can be induced to 
abandon this self-criticism and to pursue the trains 
of thought which are yielded by concentrating the 
attention, most significant matter will be obtained, 
matter which will be presently seen to be clearly 
linked to the morbid idea in question. Its connec 
tion with other ideas will be manifest, and later on 
will permit the replacement of the morbid idea by 
a fresh one, which is perfectly adapted to psychical 

This is not the place to examine thoroughly the 
hypothesis upon which this experiment rests, or the 
deductions which follow from its invariable success. 
It must suffice to state that we obtain matter enough 
for the resolution of every morbid idea if _W_~es.7 
pecially direct our attention to the unbidden as 
sociations which disturb our thoughts those which 
are otherwise put aside by the critic as worthless 
refuse. If the procedure is exercised on oneself, 
the best plan of helping the experiment is to write 
down at once all one s first indistinct fancies. 

I will now point out where this method leads when 


I apply it to the examination of dreams. Any 
dream could be made use of in this way. From 
certain motives I, however, choose a dream of my 
own, which appears confused and meaningless to 
my memory, and one which has the advantage of 
brevity. Probably my dream of last night satisfies 
the requirements. Its content, fixed immediately 
after awakening, runs as follows: 

"Company; at table or table d hote. . . . Spin 
ach is served. Mrs. E. L.,, sitting next to me, gives 
me her undivided attention,, and places her hand 
familiarly upon my knee. In defence I remove her 
hand. Then she says: But you have always had 
such beautiful eyes ... I then distinctly see 
something like two eyes as a sketch or as the con 
tour of a spectacle lens. ..." 

This is the whole dream, or, at all events, all that 
I can remember. It appears to me not only ob 
scure and meaningless, but more especially odd. 
Mrs. E. L. is a person with whom I am scarcely on 
visiting terms, nor to my knowledge have I ever 
desired any more cordial relationship. I have not 
seen her for a long time, and do not think there was 
any mention of her recently. No emotion what 
ever accompanied the dream process. 

Reflecting upon this dream does not make it a 
bit clearer to my mind. I will now, however, pre- 


sent the ideas, without premeditation and without 
criticism, which introspection yielded. I soon no 
tice that it is an advantage to break up the dream 
into its elements, and to search out the ideas which 
link themselves to each fragment, 

Company; at table or table d hote. The recol 
lection of the slight event with which the evening 
of yesterday ended is at once called up. I left a 
small party in the company of a friend, who offered 
to drive me home in his cab. "I prefer a taxi," he 
said; "that gives one such a pleasant occupation; 
there is always something to look at." When we 
were in the cab, and the cab-driver turned the disc 
so that the first sixty hellers were visible, I con 
tinued the jest. "We have hardly got in and we 
already owe sixty hellers. The taxi always re 
minds me of the table d hote. It makes me avari 
cious and selfish by continuously reminding me of 
my debt. It seems to me to mount up too quickly, 
and I am ah/ays afraid that I shall be at a disadvan 
tage, just as I cannot resist at table d hote the com 
ical fear that I am getting too little, that I must 
look after myself." In far-fetched connection with 
this I quote : 

"To earth, this weary earth, ye bring us, 
To guilt ye let us heedless go." 


Another idea about the table d hote. A few 
weeks ago I was very cross with my dear wife at 
the dinner-table at a Tyrolese health resort, be 
cause she was not sufficiently reserved with some 
neighbors with whom I wished to have absolutely 
nothing to do. I begged her to occupy herself 
rather with me than with the strangers. That is 
just as if I had been at a disadvantage at the table 
d hote. The contrast between the behavior of my 
wife at the table and that of Mrs. E. L. in the 
dream now strikes me : f< Addresses herself entirely 
to me! 9 

Further, I now notice that the dream is the re 
production of a little scene which transpired be 
tween my wife and myself when I was scretly court 
ing her. The caressing under cover of the table 
cloth was an answer to a wooer s passionate letter. 
In the dream, however, my wife is replaced by the 
unfamiliar E. L. 

Mrs. E. L. is the daughter of a man to whom I 
owed money! I cann f ot help noticing 1 that here 
there is revealed an unsuspected connection between 
the dream content and my thoughts. If the chain 
of associations be followed up which proceeds from 
one element of the dream one is soon led back to 
another of its elements. The thoughts evoked by 


the dream stir up associations which were not no 
ticeable in the dream itself. 

Is it not customary, when some one expects 
others to look after his interests without any ad 
vantage to themselves, to ask the innocent question 
satirically: "Do you think this will be done for 
the sake of your beautiful eyes?" Hence Mrs. E. 
L. s speech in the dream. "You have always had 
such beautiful eyes," means nothing but "people 
always do everything to you for love of you: you 
have had everything for nothing The contrary 
is, of course, the truth; I have always paid dearly 
for whatever kindness others have shown me. Still, 
the fact that I had a ride for nothing yesterday 
when my friend drove me home in his cab must have 
made an impression upon me. 

In any case, the friend whose guests we were 
yesterday has often made me his debtor. Recently 
I allowed an opportunity of requiting him to go 
by. He has had only one present from me, an an 
tique shawl, upon which eyes are painted all round, 
a so-called Occhiale, as a charm against the Maloc- 
chio. Moreover, he is an eye specialist. That 
same evening I had asked him after a patient whom 
I had sent to him for glasses. 

As I remarked, nearly all parts of the dream have 
been brought into this new connection. I still 


might ask why in the dream it was spinach that was 
served up. Because spinach called up a little scene 
which recently occurred at our table. A child, 
whose beautiful eyes are really deserving of praise, 
refused to eat spinach. As a child I was just the 
same; for a long time I loathed spinach, until in 
later life my tastes altered, and it became one of my 
favorite dishes. The mention of this dish brings 
my own childhood and that of my child s near to 
gether. "You should be glad that you have some 
spinach," his mother had said to the little gourmet. 
"Some children would be very glad to get spinach." 
Thus I am reminded of the parents duties towards 
their children. Goethe s words 

"To earth, this weary earth, ye bring us, 
To guilt ye let us heedless go" 

take on another meaning in this connection. 

Here I will stop in order that I may recapitulate 
the results of the analysis of the dream. By fol 
lowing the associations which were linked to the 
single elements of the dream torn from their con 
text, I have been led to a series of thoughts and 
reminiscences where I am bound to recognize inter 
esting expressions of my psychical life. The mat 
ter yielded by an analysis of the dream stands in 
intimate relationship with the dream content, but 


this relationship is so special that I should never 
have been able to have inferred the new discoveries 
directly from the dream itself. The dream was 
passionless, disconnected, and unintelligible. Dur 
ing the time that I am unfolding the thoughts at 
the back of the dream I feel intense and well- 
grounded emotions. The thoughts themselves fit 
beautifully together into chains logically bound to 
gether with certain central ideas which ever repeat 
themselves. Such ideas not represented in the 
dream itself are in this instance the antitheses self 
ish, unselfish, to be indebted, to work for nothing. 
I could draw closer the threads of the web which 
analysis has disclosed, and would then be able to 
show how they all run together into a single knot; 
I am debarred from making this work public by 
considerations of a private, not of a scientific, na 
ture. After having cleared up many things which 
I do not willingly acknowledge as mine, I should 
have much to reveal which had better remain my 
secret. Why, then, do not I choose another dream 
whose analysis would be more suitable for publica 
tion, so that I could awaken a fairer conviction of 
the sense and cohesion of the results disclosed by 
analysis? The answer is, because every dream 
which I investigate leads to the same difficulties 
and places me under the same need of discretion; 


nor should I forgo this \ fficulty any the more were 
I to analyze the dream 1 vf some one else. That 
could only be done when opportunity allowed all 
concealment to be dropped without injury to those 
who trusted me. 

The conclusion which is now forced upon me is 
that the dream is a sort of substitution for ihose.- 
emotional and intellectual trains of thought which 
I attained after complete analysis, I do not yet 
know the process by which the dream arose from 
those thoughts, but I perceive that it is wrong to 
regard the dream as psychically unimportant, a 
purely physical process which has arisen from the 
activity of isolated cortical elements awakened out 
of sleep. 

I must further remark that the dream is far 
shorter than the thoughts which I hold it replaces ; 
whilst analysis discovered that the dream was pro 
voked by an unimportant occurrence the evening be 
fore the dream. 

Naturally, I would not draw such far-reaching 
conclusions if only one analysis were known to me. 
Experience has shown me that when the associations 
of any dream are honestly followed such a chain of 
thought is revealed, the constituent parts of the 
dream reappear correctly and sensibly linked to 
gether; the slight suspicion that this concatenation. 


was merely an accident of a single first observation 
must, therefore, be absolu dy relinquished. I re 
gard it, therefore, as my right to establish this new 
view by a proper nomenclature. I contrast the 
dream which my memory evokes with the dream 
and other added matter revealed by analysis: the 
former I call the dream s manifest content; the lat 
ter, without at first further subdivision, its latent 
.content, I arrive at two new problems hitherto 
unf ormulated : ( 1 ) What is the psychical process 
which has transformed the latent content of the 
dream into its manifest content? (2) What is the 
motive or the motives which have made such trans 
formation exigent? The process by which the 
change from latent to manifest content is executed 
I name the dream-wjorfa In contrast with this is 
the work of analysis, which produces the reverse 
transformation. The other problems of the dream 
the inquiry as to its stimuli, as to the source of its 
materials, as to its possible purpose, the function of 
dreaming, the forgetting of dreams these I will 
discuss in connection with the latent dream-con 

I shall take every car 3 to avoid a confusion be 
tween the manifest and the latent content, for I 
ascribe all the contradictory as well as the incor 
rect accounts of dream-life to the ignorance of this 


latent content, now first laid bare through analysis. 
The conversion of the latent dream thoughts into 
those manifest deserves our close study as the first 
known example of the transformation of psychical 
stuff from one mode of expression into another. 
From a mode of expression which, moreover, is 
readily intelligible into another which we can only 
penetrate by effort and with guidance, although this 
new mode must be equally reckoned as an effort of 
our own psychical activity From the standpoint 
of the relationship of latent to manifest dream-con 
tent, dreams can be divided into three classes. We 
can, in the .first place, distinguish those dreams 
which haveVa meaning and are, at the. same time, 
intelligible, which allow us to penetrate into our 
psychical life without further ado. Such dreams 
are numerous; they are usually short, and, as a gen 
eral rule, do not seem very noticeable, because 
everything remarkable or exciting surprise is ab- 
jsent. Their occurrence is, moreover, a strong argu 
ment against the doctrine which derives the dream 
from the isolated activity of certain cortical ele 
ments. All signs of a lowered or subdivided psy 
chical activity are wanting. Yet we never raise 
any objection to characterizing them as dreams, nor 
do we confound them with the products of our wak 
ing life. 


A second group is formed by those dreams which 
are indeed self -coherent and have a distinct mean 
ing, but appear strange because we are unable to 
reconcile their meaning with our mental life. That 
is the case when we dream, for instance, that some 
dear relative has died of plague when we know of 
no ground for expecting, apprehending, or assum 
ing anything of the sort; we can only ask ourself 
wonderingly : "What brought that into my head ?" 
To the third group those dreams belong which are 
void of both meaning and intelligibility; they are 
incoherent,, complicated, and meaningless. The 
overwhelming number of our dreams partake of 
this character, and this has given rise to the con 
temptuous attitude towards dreams and the medical 
theory of their limited psychical activity. 
pecially in the longer and more complicated dream- 
plots that signs of incoherence are seldom missing. 

The contrast between manifest and latent dream-: 
content is clearly only of value for the dreams of 
the second and more especially for those of the third 
class. Here are problems which are only solved 
when the manifest dream is replaced by its latent 
content; it was an example of this kind, a compli 
cated and unintelligible dream, that we subjected to 
analysis. Against our expectation we, however, 
struck upon reasons which prevented a complete 


cognizance of the latent dream thought. On the 
repetition of this same experience we were forced 
to the supposition that there is an intimate bond, 
with laws of its own, between the unintelligible and 
complicated nature of the dream and the difficulties 
attending communication of the thoughts connected 
with the dream* Before investigating the nature 
of this bond, it will be advantageous to turn our 
attention to the more readily intelligible dreams of 
the first class where, the manifest and latent con 
tent being identical, the dream work seems to be 

The investigation of these dreams is also advisa 
ble from another standpoint. The dreams of chilr 
dren are of this nature; they have a meaning, and 
are not bizarre. This, by the way, is a further ob 
jection to reducing dreams to a dissociation of cere 
bral activity in sleep, for why should such a lower 
ing of psychical functions belong to the nature of 
sleep in adults, but not in children? We are, how 
ever, fully justified in expecting that the explana 
tion of psychical processes in children, essentially 
simplified as they may be, should serve as an indis 
pensable preparation towards the psychology of the 

I shall therefore cite some examples of dreams 
which I have gathered from children. A girl of 


nineteen months was made to go without food for 
a day because she had been sick in the morning, 
and, according to nurse, had made herself ill 
through eating strawberries. During the night, 
after her day of fasting, she was heard calling out 
her name during sleep, and adding: "Tcwoberry, 
eggs., pap" She is dreaming that she is eating, 
and selects out of her menu exactly what she sup 
poses she will not get much of just now. 

The same kind of dream about a forbidden dish 
was that of a little boy of twenty-two months. The 
day before he was told to offer his uncle a present 
of a small basket of cherries, of which the child 
was, of course, only allowed one to taste. He 
woke up with the joyful news: "Hermann eaten 
up all the cherries." 

A girl of three and a half years had made during 
the day a sea trip which was too short for her, and 
she cried when she had to get out of the boat. The 
next morning her story was that during the night 
she had been on the sea, thus continuing the inter 
rupted trip. 

A boy of five and a half years was not at all 
pleased with his party during a walk in the Dach- 
stein region. Whenever a new peak came into 
sight he asked if that were the Dachstein, and, fi 
nally, refused to accompany the party to the water- 


fall. His behavior was ascribed to fatigue; but a 
better explanation was forthcoming when the next 
morning he told his dream: he had ascended the 
Dachstein. Obviously he expected the ascent of 
the Dachstein to be the object of the excursion, and 
was vexed by not getting a glimpse of the moun 
tain. The dream gave him what the day had with 
held. The dream of a girl of six was similar; her 
father had cut short the walk before reaching the 
promised objective on account of the lateness of the 
hour. On the way back she noticed a signpost giv 
ing the name of another place for excursions ; her 
father promised to take her there also some other 
day. She greeted her father next day with the 
news that she had dreamt that her father had been 
with her to both places. 

What is common in all these dreams is obvious. 
They completely satisfy wishes excited during the 
day which remain unrealized. They are simply 
and undisguisedly realizations of wishes. 

The following child-dream, not quite understand 
able at first sight, is nothing else than a wish re 
alized. On account of poliomyelitis a girl, not 
quite four years of age, was brought from the coun 
try into town, and remained over night with a child 
less aunt in a big for her, naturally, huge bed. 
The next morning she stated that she had dreamt 


that the bed was much too small for her, so that she 
could find no place in it. To explain this dream as 
a wish is easy when we remember that to be "big" 
is a frequently expressed wish of all children. The 
bigness of the bed reminded Miss Little-Would- 
be-Big only too forcibly of her smallness. This 
nasty situation became righted in her dream, and 
she grew so big that the bed now became too small 
for her. 

Even when children s dreams are complicated 
and polished, their comprehension as a realization 
of desire is fairly evident. A boy of eight dreamt 
that he was being driven with Achilles in a war- 
chariot, guided by Diomedes. The day before he 
was assiduously reading about great heroes. It is 
easy to show that he took these heroes as his models, 
and regretted that he was not living in those days. 

From this short collection of further character 
istic of the dreams of children is manifest th eir 
.connection with the life of the day. The desires 
which are realized in these dreams are left over 
from the day or, as a rule, the day previous, and 
the feeling has become intently emphasized and 
fixed during the day thoughts. Accidental and in 
different matters, or what must appear so to the 
child, find no acceptance in the contents of the 


Innumerable instances of such dreams of the in 
fantile type can be found among adults also, but, 
as mentioned, these are mostly exactly like the man 
ifest content. Thus, a random selection of per 
sons will generally respond to thirst at night-time 
with a dream about drinking, thus striving to get 
rid of the sensation and to let sleep continue. 
Many persons frequently have these comforting 
dreams before waking, just when they are called. 
They then dream that they are already up, that they 
are washing, or already in school, at the office, etc., 
where they ought to be at a given time. The night 
before an intended journey one not infrequently 
dreams that one has already arrived at the destina 
tion ; before going to a play or to a party the dream 
not infrequently anticipates, in impatience, as it 
were, the expected pleasure. At other times the 
dream expresses the realization of the desire some 
what indirectly ; some connection, some sequel must 
be known the first step towards recognizing the 
desire. Thus, when a husband related to me the 
dream of his young wife, that her monthly period 
had begun, I had to bethink myself that the young 
wife would have expected a pregnancy if the period 
had been absent. The dream is then a sign of 
pregnancy. Its meaning is that it shows the wish 
realized that pregnancy should not occur just yet. 


Under unusual and extreme circumstances, these 
dreams of the infantile type become very frequent. 
The leader of a polar expedition tells us, for in 
stance, that during the wintering amid the ice the 
crew, with their monotonous diet and slight rations, 
dreamt regularly, like children, of fine meals, of 
mountains of tobacco, and of home. 

It is not uncommon that out of some long, com 
plicated and intricate dream one specially lucid part 
stands out containing unmistakably the realization 
.of a desire, but bound up with much unintelligible 
matter. On more frequently analyzing the seem 
ingly more transparent dreams of adults, it is as 
tonishing to discover that these are rarely as simple 
as the dreams of children, and that they cover an 
other meaning beyond that of the realization of a 

It would certainly be a simple and convenient 
solution of the riddle if the work of analysis made 
it at all possible for us to trace the meaningless and 
intricate dreams of adults back to the infantile type, 
to the realization of some intensely experienced de 
sire of the day. But there is no warrant for such 
an expectation. Their dreams are generally full 
of the most indifferent and bizarre matter, and no 
trace of the realization of the wish is to be found in 
.their content. 


Before leaving these infantile dreams, which are 
obviously unrealized desires, we must not fail to 
mention another chief characteristic of dreams, one 
that has been long noticed, and one which stands 
out most clearly in this class. I can replace any of 
these dreams by a phrase expressing a desire. If 
the sea trip had only lasted longer ; if I were only 
washed and dressed; if I had only been allowed to 
keep the cherries instead of giving them to my uncle. 
But the dream gives something more than the 
.choice, for here the desire is already realized; its 
realization is real and actual. The dream presenta 
tions consist chiefly, if not wholly, .of scenes and 
mainly of visual sense images. Hence a kind of 
transformation is not entirely absent in this class of 
dreams, and this may be fairly designated as the 
dream work. n idea merely existing in the region 
of possibility is replaced by a vision of its accom 



WE are compelled to assume that such transforma 
tion of scene has also taken place in intricate 
.dreams, though we do not know whether it has en 
countered any possible desire. The dream in 
stanced at the commencement, which we analyzed 
somewhat thoroughly, did give us occasion in two 
places to suspect something of the kind. Analysis 
brought out that my wife was occupied with others 
at table, and that I did not like it ; in the dream it 
self exactly the opposite occurs, for the person who 
replaces my wife gives me her undivided attention. 
But can one wish for anything pleasanter after a 
disagreeable incident than that the exact contrary 
should have occurred, just as the dream has it? 
The stinging thought in the analysis, that I have 
never had anything for nothing, is similarly con 
nected with the woman s remark in the dream: 
"You have always had such beautiful eyes." Some 
portion of the opposition between the latent and 
manifest content of the dream must be therefore 
derived from the realization of a wish. 



Another manifestation of the dream work which 
all incoherent dreams have in common is still more 
noticeable. Choose any instance, and compare the 
number of separate elements in it, or the extent of 
the dream, if written down, with the dream thoughts 
yielded by analysis, and of which but a trace can 
be refound in the dream itself. There can be no 
doubt that the dream working has resulted in an 
extraordinary compression or condensation. It is 
not at first easy to form an opinion as to the extent 
of the condensation; the more deeply you go into 
the analysis, the more deeply you are impressed by 
it. There will be found no factor in the dream 
whence the chains of associations do not lead in two 
or more directions, no scene which has not been 
pieced together out of two or more impressions and 
events. For instance, I once dreamt about a kind 
of swimming-bath where the bathers suddenly sep 
arated in all directions; at one place on the edge a 
person stood bending towards one of the bathers as 
if to drag him out. The scene was a composite one, 
made up out of an event that occurred at the time 
of puberty, and of two pictures, one of which I had 
seen just shortly before the dream. The two pic 
tures were The Surprise in the Bath, from 
Schwind s Cycle -of the Melusine (note the bathers 
suddenly separating), and. The Flood, by an 


Italian master. The little incident was that I 
once witnessed a lady, who had tarried in the swim 
ming-bath until the men s hour, being helped out 
of the water by the swimming-master. The scene 
in the dream which was selected for analysis led to 
a whole group of reminiscences, each one of which 
had contributed to the dream content. First of all 
came the little episode from the time of my court 
ing, of which I have already spoken; the pressure 
of a hand under the table gave rise in the dream to 
the "under the table," which I had subsequently to 
find a place for in my recollection. There was, of 
course, at the time not a word about "undivided at 
tention." Analysis taught me that this factor is 
the realization of a desire through its contradictory 
and related to the behavior of my. wife at the table 
d hote. An exactly similar and much more im 
portant episode of our courtship, one which sepa 
rated us for an entire day, lies hidden behind this 
recent recollection. The intimacy, the hand rest 
ing upon the knee, refers to a quite different con 
nection arid to quite other persons. This element 
in the dream becomes again the starting-point of 
two distinct series of reminiscences, and so on. 

The stuff of the dream thoughts which has been 
accumulated for the formation of the dream scene 
must be naturally fit for this application. There 


must be one or more common factors. The dream 
work proceeds like" Francis Galton with his family 
photographs. The different elements _are_ put one 
on top of the other; what is common ^ to the com 
posite picture stands out clearly, the opposing de 
tails cancel each other. This process of repro 
duction partly explains the wavering statements, 
of a peculiar vagueness, in so many elements of thje 
dream. For the interpretation of dreams this rule 
holds good: When analysis discloses uncertainty. 
as to either or read and., taking each section of 
the app arent alternatives as a separate outlet for a 
series of impressions* 

When there is nothing in common between the 
dream thoughts, the dream work takes the trouble 
to create a something, in order to make a common 
presentation feasible in the dream. The simplest 
way to approximate two dream thoughts, which 
have as yet nothing in common, consists in making 
such a change in the actual expression of one rdea 
.as will meet a .slight responsive recasting in the form 
of the other idea. The process is analogous to that 
of rhyme, when- consonance supplies the desired 
common factor. A good deal of the dreani work 
consists in the creation of those frequently, very 
witty, but often exaggerated, digressions. These 
vary from the common presentation in the dream 


content to dream thoughts which are as varied as 
are* the causes in form and essence which give rise 
to them. In the analysis of our. example of a 
dream, I find a like case of the transformation of a 
thought in order that it might agree with another 
essentially foreign one. In following out the an 
alysis I struck upon the thought : I should like to 
have something for nothing. But this formula is 
not serviceable to the dream. Hence it is replaced 
by another one: "I should like to enjoy something 
free of cost." l The word "kost" (taste) , with its 
double meaning, is appropriate to a table d hote ; it, 
moreover, is in place through the special sense in the 
dream. At home if there is a dish which the chil 
dren decline, their mother first tries gentle persua 
sion, with a "Just taste it." That the dream work 
should unhesitatingly use the double meaning of 
the word is certainly remarkable ; ample experience 
has shown, however, tha/t the occurrence is quite 

Through condensation of the dream certain con,- 

i"Ich mochte gerne etwas geniessen ohne Kosten zu haben." A 
a pun upon the word "kosten," which has two meanings "taste" and 
"cost." In "Die Traumdeutung," third edition, p. 71 footnote, Pro 
fessor Freud remarks that "the finest example of dream interpreta 
tion left us by the ancients is based upon a pun" (from "The Inter 
pretation of Dreams," by Artemidorus Daldianus). "Moreover, 
dreams are so intimately bound up with language that Ferenczi truly 
points out that every tongue has its own language of dreams. A 
dream is as a rule untranslatable into other languages." TBANSLATOR. 


^tituent parts of its content ar.e explicable which 
are peculiar to the dream life alone, and which are 
not found in the waking state. Such are the com 
posite and mixed persons, the extraordinary mixed 
figures, creations comparable with the fantastic 
animal compositions of Orientals; a moment s 
thought and these are reduced to unity, whilst the 
fancies of the dream are ever formed anew in an 
inexhaustible "profusion. Every one knows such 
images in his own dreams; manifold are their or 
igins. I can build up a person by borrowing one 
feature from one person and one from another, or 
by giving to the form of one the name of another in 
my dream. I can also visualize one person, but 
place him in a position which has occurred to an 
other. There is -a meaning in all these cases when 
different persons ar*e amalgamated into one substi 
tute. Such cases denote an "and," a "just like," a 
comparison of the original person from a certain 
point of view, a comparison which can be also re 
alized in the dream itself. As a rule, however, the 
identity of the blended persons is only discoverable 
by analysis, and is only indicated in the dream con 
tent by the formation of the "combined" person. 

The same diversity in their ways of formation 
and the same rules for its solution hold good also 
for the innumerable medley of dream contents-, ex- 


amples -of which I need scarcely adduce. Their 
strangeness quite disappears, when we resolve not 
to place them on a level with the objects of percep 
tion as known to us when awake, but to remember 
that they represent the_art_of dream condensation 
by an exclusion of unnecessary detail. Promin 
ence is given to the common character of the com 
bination. Analysis must also generally supply the 
common features. The dream says simply: All 
these things have an f< x" in common. The decorti- 
position of these mixed images by analysis is often 
the quickest way to an interpretation of the dream. 
Thus I once dreamt that I was sitting with one of 
my former university tutors on a bench, which was 
undergoing a rapid continuous movement amidst 
other benches. This was a combination of lecture- 
room and moving staircase. I will not pursue the 
further result of the thought. Another time I was 
sitting in a carriage, and on my lap an object in 
shape like a top-hat, which, however, was made of 
transparent glass. The scene at once brought to 
my mind the proverb: "He who keeps his hat in 
his hand will travel safely through the land. By 
a slight turn the glass hat reminded me of Auer s 
light, and I knew that I was about to invent some 
thing which was to make me as rich and independent 
as his invention had made my countryman, Dr. 


Auer, of Welsbach; then I should be able to travel 
instead of remaining in Vienna. In the dream I 
was traveling with my invention, with the, it is true, 
rather awkward glass top-hat. The dream work is 
peculiarly adept at representing two contradictory 
conceptions by means of the same mixed image. 
Thus, for instance, a woman dreamt of herself 
carrying a tall flower-stalk, as in the picture of the 
Annunciation (Chastity-Mary is her own name), 
but the stalk was bedecked with thick white blos 
soms resembling camellias (contrast with chastity: 
La dame aux Camelias). 

A great deal of what we have called "dream con 
densation" can be thus formulated. Each one of 
the elements of the dream content is ovefdet er 
mine d by the matter of the dream thoughts ; it is not 
derived from one element of these thoughts, but 
from a whole series. These are not necessarily in 
terconnected in any way, but may belong to the 
most diverse spheres of thought. The dream ele 
ment truly represents all this disparate matter in 
the dream content. Analysis, moreover, discloses 
another side of the relationship between dream con 
tent and dream thoughts. Just as one element of 
the dream leads to associations with several dream 
thoughts, so, as a rule, the one dream thought re pre.- 
sents more than one dream element. The threads 


of the association do not simply converge from the 
dream thoughts to the dream content, but on the 
way they overlap and interweave in every way. 

Next to the transformation of one thought in the 
scene (its "dramatization"), condensation is the 
most important and mast characteristic feature of 
the dream work. We have as yet no clue as to 
the motive calling for such compression of the con 

In the complicated and intricate dreams with 
which we are now concerned, condensation and 
dramatization do not wholly account for the differ 
ence between, dream contents and dream thoughts. 
There is evidence of a third factor, which deserves 
careful consideration. 

When I have arrived at an understanding of the 
dream thoughts by my analysis I notice, above all, 
that the matter of the manifest is very different 
.from that of the latent dream content. That is, I 
admit, only an apparent difference which vanishes 
on closer investigation, for in the end I find the 
whole dream content carried out in the dream 
thoughts, nearly all the dream thoughts again repre 
sented in the dream content. Nevertheless, there 
does remain a certain amount of difference. 

The essential content which stood out clearly and 
broadly in the dream must, after analysis, rest satis- 


fied with a very subordinate role among the dreain 
thoughts,, These very dream thoughts which, go 
ing by my feelings, have a claim to the greatest 
importance are either not present at all in the dream 
content, or are represented by some remote allusion* 
in some obscure region of the dream. I can thus 
describe these phenomena: During the dream- 
work the psychical intensity of those thoughts and 
conceptions to which it properly pertains flows to 
others which, in my judgment, have no claim to 
such emphasis. There is no other process which 
contributes so much to concealment of the dream s 
meaning and to make the connection between the 
dream content and dream ideas irrecognizable. 
During this process, which I will call the dream, 
displacement, I notice also the psychical intensity, 
significance, or emotional nature of the thoughts 
become transposed .in. ..sensory vividness. What 
was clearest in the dream seems to me, without fur 
ther consideration, the most important; but often 
in some obscure element of the dream I can rec 
ognize the most direct offspring of the principal 
dream thought. 

I could only designate this dream displacement 
as the transvaluation of psychical values. The 
phenomena will not have been considered in all its 
bearings unless I add that this displacement or 


transvaluation is shared by different dreams in ex 
tremely varying degrees. There are dreams which 
take place almost without any displacement. 
These have the same time, meaning, and intelligibil 
ity as we found in the dreams which recorded a 
desire. In other dreams not a bit of the dream 
idea has retained its own psychical value, or every 
thing essential in these dream ideas has been re 
placed by unessentials, whilst every kind of transi 
tion between these conditions can be found. The 
more obscure and intricate a dream is, the greater 
is the part to be ascribed to the impetus of displace 
ment in its formation. 

The example that we chose for analysis shows, at 
least, this much of displacement that its content 
has a different center of interest from that of the 
dream ideas. In the forefront of the dream con 
tent the main scene appears as if a woman wished 
to make advances to me ; in the dream idea the chief 
interest rests on the desire to enjoy disinterested 
love which shall "cost nothing" ; this idea lies at the 
back of the talk about the beautiful eyes and the 
far-fetched allusion to "spinach." 

If we abolish the dream displacement, we attain 
through analysis quite certain conclusions regard 
ing two problems of the dream which are most dis 
puted as to what provokes a dream at all, and as 


to the connection of the dream with our waking life. 
There are dreams which at once expose their links 
with the events of the day; in others no trace of 
such a connection can be found. By the aid of an 
alysis it can be shown that every dream, without 
any exception, is linked up with our impression of 
the day, or perhaps it would be more correct to say 
of the day previous to the dream. The impressions 
which have incited the dream may be so important 
that we are not surprised at our being occupied 
with them whilst awake ; in this case we are right in 
saying that the dream carries on the chief interest 
of our waking life. More usually, however, when 
the dream contains anything relating to the impres 
sions of the day, it is so trivial, unimportant, and so 
deserving of oblivion, that we can only recall it with 
an effort. The dream content appears, then, even 
when coherent and intelligible, to be concerned with 
those indifferent trifles of thought undeserving of 
our waking interest. The depreciation of dreams 
is largely due to the predominance of the indifferent 
#nd the worthless in their content. 

Analysis destroys the appearance upon which this 
derogatory judgment is based. When the dream 
content discloses nothing but some indifferent im 
pression as instigating the dream, analysis ever in 
dicates some significant event, which has been re- 


place d by something indifferent with which it has 
entered into abundant associations. Where the 
dream is concerned with uninteresting and unim 
portant conceptions, analysis reveals the numerous 
associative paths which connect the trivial with the 
momentous in the psychical estimation of the indi 
vidual. It is only the action of displacement if 
what is indifferent obtains recognition in the dream 
content instead of those impressions which are 
really the stimulus, or instead of the things of real 
interest. In answering the question as to what pro 
vokes the dream, as to the connection of the dream, 
in the daily troubles, we must say, in terms of the 
insight given us by replacing the manifest latent 
dream content: The dream does never trouble it- 
$glf about things which are not deserving of our 
concern during the day, and trivialities which do not 
trouble us during the day have no power to pursue, 
us whilst asleep 

What provoked the dream in the example which 
we have analyzed? The really unimportant event, 
that a friend invited me to a free ride in his cab. 
The table d hote scene in the dream contains an 
allusion to this indifferent motive, for in conversa 
tion I had brought the taxi parallel with the table 
d hote. But I can indicate the important event 
which has as its substitute the trivial one. A few 


days before I had disbursed a large sum of money 
for a member of my family who is very dear to 
me. Small wonder, says the dream thought, if this 
person is grateful to me for this this love is not 
cost-free. But love that shall cost nothing is one 
of the prime thoughts of the dream. The fact that 
shortly before this I had had several drives with 
the relative in question puts the one drive with my 
friend in a position to recall the connection with the 
other person. The indifferent impression which, 
by such ramifications, provokes the dream is sub 
servient to another condition which is not true of 
the real source of the dream the impression must 
be a recent one, everything arising from the day of 
the dream. 

I cannot leave the question of dream displace 
ment without the consideration of a remarkable 
process in the formation of dreams in which con 
densation and displacement work together towards 
^ne end. In condensation we have already con 
sidered the case where two conceptions in the dream 
having something in common, some point of con 
tact, are replaced in the dream content by a mixed 
image, where the distinct germ corresponds to what 
is common, and the indistinct secondary modifica 
tions to what is distinctive. If displacement is 
added to condensation, there is no formation of a 


mixed image, but a common mean which bears the 
same relationship to the individual elements as does 
the resultant in the parallelogram of forces to its 
components. In one of my dreams, for instance, 
there is talk of an injection with propyl. On first 
analysis I discovered an indifferent but true inci 
dent where amyl played a part as the excitant of 
the dream. I cannot yet vindicate the exchange 
of amyl for propyl. To the round of ideas of the 
same dream, however, there belongs the recollection 
of my first visit to Munich, when the Propylcea 
struck me. The attendant circumstances of the 
analysis render it admissible that the influence of 
this second group of conceptions caused the dis 
placement of amyl to propyl. Propyl is, so to say, 
the mean idea between amyl and propylcea; it got 
into the dream as a kind of compromise by simultan 
eous condensation and displacement. 

The need of discovering some motive for this be 
wildering work of the dream is even more called for 
in the case of displacement than in condensation. 

Although the work of displacement must be held 
mainly responsible if the dream thoughts are not 
refound or recognized in the dream content (unless 
the motive of the changes be guessed) , it is another 
and milder kind of transformation which will be 
considered with the dream thoughts which leads to 


the discovery of a new but readily understood act 
of the dream work. The first dream thoughts 
which are unravelled by analysis frequently strike 
one by their unusual wording. They do not ap 
pear to be expressed in the sober form which our 
thinking prefers; rather are they expressed sym 
bolically by allegories and metaphors like the fig 
urative language of the poets. It is not difficult 
to find the motives for this degree of constraint in 
the expression of dream ideas. The dream- content 
consists chiefly of visual scenes; hence the dream 
ideas must, in the first place, be prepared to make 
use of these forms of presentation. Conceive that 
a political leader s or a barrister s address had to be 
transposed into pantomime, and it will be easy to 
understand the transformations to which the dream 
work is constrained by regard for this dramatization 
of tJie dream content. 

Around the psychical stuff of dream thoughts 
there are ever found reminiscences of impressions, 
not infrequently of early childhood rscenes which, 
as a rule, have been visually grasped. Whenever 
possible, this portion of the dream ideas exercises 
a definite influence upon the modelling of the dream 
content ; it works like a center of crystallization, by 
attracting and rearranging the stuff of the dream 
thoughts. The scene of the dream is not infre- 


quently nothing but a modified repetition, compli : 
cated by interpolations of events that have left such 
.an impression; the dream but very seldom repro 
duces accurate and unmixed reproductions of real 

The dream content does not, however, consist 
exclusively of scenes, but it also includes scattered 
fragments of visual images, conversations, and even 
bits of unchanged thoughts- It will be perhaps to 
the point if we instance in the briefest way the 
means of dramatization which are at the disposal 
of the dream work for the repetition of the dream 
thoughts in the peculiar language of the dream. 

The dream thoughts which we learn from the 
analysis exhibit themselves~^s~a -psychical complex, 
of the most complicated superstructure. Their 
parts stand in the most diverse relationship to each 
other; they form backgrounds and foregrounds, 
stipulations, digressions, illustrations, demonstra 
tions, and protestations. It may be said to be al 
most the rule that one train of thought is followed 
by its contradictory. No feature known to our 
reason whilst awake is absent. If a dream is to 
grow out of all this, the psychical matter is sub 
mitted to a pressure which condenses it extremely, 
to an inner shrinking and displacement, creating at 
the same time fresh surfaces, to a selective inter- 


weaving among the constituents best adapted for 
the construction of these scenes. Having regard 
to the origin of this stuff, the term regression can be 
fairly applied to this process. The logical chains 
\vhich hitherto held the psychical stuff together be 
come lost in this transformation to the dream con 
tent. The dream work takes on, as it were, only 
the essential content of the dream thoughts for 
elaboration. It is left to analysis to restore the 
connection which the dream work has destroyed. 

The dream s means of expression must therefore 
be regarded as meager in comparison with those of 
our imagination, though the dream does not re 
nounce all claims to the restitution of logical re 
lation to the dream thoughts. It rather succeeds 
with tolerable frequency in replacing these by 
formal characters of its own. 

By reason of the undoubted connection existing 
between all the parts of dream thoughts, the dream 
is able to embody this matter into a single scene. It 
upholds a logical connection as approximation in 
time and space,, just as the painter, who groups all 
the poets for his picture of Parnassus who, though 
they have never been all together on a mountain 
peak, yet form ideally a community. The dream 
continues this method of presentation in individual 
dreams, and often when it displays two elements 


close together in the dream content it warrants 
some special inner connection between what they 
represent in the dream thoughts. It should be, 
moreover, observed that all the dreams of one night 
prove on analysis to originate from the same sphere 
of thought. 

The causal connection between two ideas is either 
left without presentation, or replaced by two differ 
ent long portions of dreams one after the other. 
This presentation is frequently a reversed one, the 
beginning of the dream being the deduction, and its 
end the hypothesis. Tlie direct transformation of 
one thing into another in the dream seems to serve 
the relationship of cause and effect. 

The dream never utters the alternating 
" eiiher-or * but accepts both as having equal rights 
in the same connection. When "either-or" is used 
in the reproduction of dreams, it is, as I have al 
ready mentioned, to be replaced by "and." 

Conceptions which stand in opposition to one an 
other are preferably expressed in dreams by the 
same element. 1 There seems no "not" in dreams. 

i It is worthy of remark that eminent philologists maintain that 
the oldest languages used the same word for expressing quite general 
antitheses. In C. Abel s essay, "Ueber den Gegensinn der Urworter" 
(1884, the following examples of such words in England are given: 
"gleam gloom"; "to lock loch"; "down The Downs"; "to step- 
to stop." In his essay on "The Origin of Language" ("Linguistic 
Essays," p. 240), Abel says: "When the Englishman says without, is 


Opposition between two ideas, the relation of con 
version, is represented in dreams in a very remark 
able way. It is expressed by the reversal of an 
other part of the dream content just as if by way 
of appendix. We shall later on deal with another 
form of expressing disagreement. The common 
dream sensation of movement checked serves the 
purpose of representing disagreement of impulses 
a conflict of the mil. 

Only one of the logical relationships that of 
similarity , identity, agreement is found highly de 
veloped in the mechanism of dream formation. 
Dream work makes use of these cases as a starting- 
point for condensation, drawing together every 
thing which shows such agreement to .a fresh unity. 

These short, crude observations naturally do not 
suffice as an estimate of the abundance of the 
dream s formal means of presenting the logical re 
lationships of the dream thoughts. In this respect, 
individual dreams are worked up more nicely or 
more carelessly, our text will have been followed 
more or less closely, auxiliaries of the dream work 

not his judgment based upon the comparative juxtaposition of two 
opposites, with and out ; with itself originally meant without, 
as may still be seen in withdraw. Bid includes the opposite sense 
of giving and of proffering." Abel, "The English Verbs of Com 
mand," "Linguistic Essays," p. 104; see also Freud, "Ueber den 
Gegensinn der Urworte"; Jahrbuch fur Psychoanatytische und Py- 
chopatholoyische Forschungen, Band ii., part L, p. 179). TRANSLATOR. 


will have been taken more or less into consideration. 
In the latter case they appear obscure, intricate, 
incoherent. When the dream appears openly ab 
surd, when it contains an obvious paradox in its 
content, it is so of purpose. Through its apparent 
disregard of all logical claims, it expresses a part 
of the intellectual content of the dream ideas. Ab 
surdity in the dream denotes disagreement, scorn, 
disdain in the dream thoughts. As this explanation 
is in entire disagreement with the view that the 
dream owes its origin to dissociated, uncritical cere 
bral activity, I will emphasize my view by an ex 
ample : 

"One of my acquaintances, Mr. M- , has been 
attacked by no less a person tlwn Goethe in an essay 
with, we all maintain, unwarrantable violence. 
Mr. M - has naturally been ruined by this at- 
tack. He complains very bitterly of this at a din 
ner-party, but his respect for Goethe has not dimin 
ished through this personal experience. I now at 
tempt to clear up the chronological relations which 
strike me as improbable. Goethe died in 1832. 
As his attack upon Mr. M- - must, of course, have 
taken place before, Mr. M - must have been then 
a very young man. It seem$ to me plausible that 
he was eighteen. I am not certain, however, what 
year we are actually in, and the whole calculation 


falls into obscurity. The attack was, moreover, 
contained in Goethe s well-known essay on Na 
ture. " 

The absurdity of the dream becomes the more 
glaring when I state that Mr. M - is a young 
business man without any poetical or literary in 
terests. My analysis of the dream will show what 
method there is in this madness. The dream has 
derived its material from three sources: 

1. Mr. M , to whom I was introduced at a 
dinner-party, begged me one day to examine his 
elder brother, who showed signs of mental trouble. 
In conversation with the patient, an unpleasant 
episode occurred. Without the slightest occasion 
he disclosed one of his brother s youthful escapades. 
I had asked the patient the year of his birth {year 
of death in dream) , and led him to various calcula 
tions which might show up his want of memory. 

2. A medical journal which displayed my name 
among others on the cover had published a ruinous 
review of a book by my friend F- - of Berlin, 
from the pen of a very juvenile reviewer. I com 
municated with the editor, who, indeed, expressed 
his regret, but would not promise any redress. 
Thereupon I broke off rny connection with the pa 
per; in my letter of resignation I expressed the 
hope that our personal relations would not suffer 


from this. Here is the real source of the dream. 
The derogatory reception of my friend s work had 
made a deep impression upon me. In my judg 
ment, it contained a fundamental biological discov 
ery which only now, several years later, commences 
to find favor among the professors. 

3. A little while before, a patient gave me the 
medical history of her brother, who, exclaiming 
ff Nature, Nature! 3 had gone out of his mind. The 
doctors considered that the exclamation arose from 
a study of Goethe s beautiful essay, and indicated 
that the patient had been overworking. I ex 
pressed the opinion that it seemed more plausible 
to me that the exclamation "Nature!" was to be 
taken in that sexual meaning known also to the less 
educated in our country. It seemed to me that this 
view had something in it, because the unfortunate 
youth afterwards mutilated his genital organs. 
The patient was eighteen years old when the attack 

The first person in the dream-thoughts behind the 
ego was my friend who had been so scandalously 
treated. "I now attempted to clear up the chrono 
logical relation." My friend s book deals with the 
chronological relations of life, and, amongst other 
things, correlates Goethe s duration of life with a 
number of days in many ways important to biology. 


The ego is, however, represented as a general para 
lytic ("I am not certain what year we are actually 
in"). The dream exhibits my friend as behaving 
like a general paralytic, and thus riots in absurdity. 
But the dream thoughts run ironically. "Of course 
he is a madman, a fool, and you are the genius who 
understands all about it. But shouldn t it be the 
other way round?" This inversion obviously took 
place in the dream when Goethe attacked the young 
man, which is absurd, whilst any one, however 
young, can to-day easily attack the great Goethe. 

I am prepared to maintain that no dream is in 
spired by other than egoistic emotions. The ego in 
the dream does not, indeed, represent only my 
friend, but stands for myself also. I identify my 
self with him because the fate of his discovery ap 
pears to me typical of -the acceptance of my own. 
If I were to publish my own theory, which gives 
sexuality predominance in the setiology of psycho- 
neurotic disorders (see the allusion to the eighteen- 
year-old patient "Nature, Nature!"), the same 
criticism would be leveled at me, and it would even 
now meet with the same contempt. 

When I follow out the dream thoughts closely, I 
ever find only scorn and contempt as correlated with 
the dreamfs absurdity. It is well known that the 
discovery of a cracked sheep s skull on the Lido in 


Venice gave Goethe the hint for the so-called ver 
tebral theory of the skull. My friend plumes him 
self on having as a student raised a hubbub for the 
resignation of an aged professor who had done good 
work (including some in this very subject of com 
parative anatomy), but who, on account of decrepi 
tude, had become quite incapable of teaching. The 
agitation my friend inspired was so successful be 
cause in the German Universities an age limit is not 
demanded for academic work. Age is no protec 
tion against folly. In the hospital here I had for 
years the honor to serve under a chief who, long 
fossilized, was for decades notoriously feeble 
minded, and was yet permitted to continue in his 
responsible office. A trait, after the manner of the 
find in the Lido, forces itself upon me here. It was 
to this man that some youthful colleagues in the 
h ospital adapted the then popular slang of that day : 
"No Goethe has written that," "No Schiller com 
posed that," etc. 

We have not exhausted our valuation of the 
dream work. In addition to condensation, dis 
placement, and definite arrangement of the psychi 
cal matter, we must ascribe to it yet another activity 
one which is, indeed, not shared by every dream. 
I shall not treat this position of the dream work ex 
haustively; I will only point out that the readies** 


way to arrive at a conception of it is to take for 
granted, probably unfairly, that it only subse 
quently influences the dream content which has al 
ready been built up. Its mode of action thus con 
sists in so coordinating the parts of the dream that 
these coalesce to a coherent whole, to a dream com 
position. The dream gets a kind of facade which, 
it is true, does not conceal the whole of its content. 
There is a sort of preliminary explanation to be 
strengthened by interpolations and slight altera 
tions. Such elaboration of the dream content must 
not be too pronounced; the misconception of the 
dream thoughts to which it gives rise is merely su 
perficial, and our first piece of work in analyzing 
a dream is to get rid of these early attempts at in 

The motives for this part of the dream work are 
easily gauged. This final elaboration of the dream 
is due to a regard for intelligibility a fact at once 
betraying the origin of an action which behaves to 
wards the actual dream content just as our normal 
psychical action behaves towards some proffered 
perception that is to our liking. The dream con 
tent is thus secured under the pretense of certain 
expectations, is perceptually classified by the sup 
position of its intelligibility, thereby risking its 
falsification, whilst, in fact, the most extraordinary 


misconceptions arise if the dream can be correlated 
with nothing familiar. Every one is aware that we 
are unable to look at any series of unfamiliar signs, 
or to listen to a discussion of unknown words, with 
out at once making perpetual changes through our 
regard for intelligibility, through our falling back 
upon what is familiar. 

We can call those dreams properly made up 
which are the result of an elaboration in every way 
analogous to the psychical action of our waking life. 
In other dreams there is no such action ; not even an 
attempt is made to bring about order and meaning. 
We regard the dream as "quite mad," because on 
awaking it is with this last-named part of the dream 
work, the dream elaboration, that we identify our 
selves. So far, however, as our analysis is con 
cerned, the dream, which resembles a medley of dis 
connected fragments, is of as much value as the one 
with a smooth and beautifully polished surface. In 
the former case we are spared, to some extent, the 
trouble of breaking down the super-elaboration of 
the dream content. 

All the same, it would be an error to see in the 
dream facade nothing but the misunderstood and 
somewhat arbitrary elaboration of the dream car 
ried out at the instance of our psychical life. 
Wishes and phantasies are not infrequently em- 


ployed in the erection of this facade, which were 
already fashioned in the dream thoughts; they are 
akin to those of our waking life "day-dreams," as 
they are very properly called. These wishes and 
phantasies, which analysis discloses in our dreams 
at night, often present themselves as repetitions 
and refashionings of the scenes of infancy. Thus 
the dream facade may show us directly the true core 
of the dream, distorted through admixture with 
other matter. 

Beyond these four activities there is nothing else 
to be discovered in the dream work. If we keep 
closely to the definition that dream work denotes 
the transference of dream thoughts to dream con 
tent, we are compelled to say that the dream work 
is not creative; it develops no fancies of its own, it 
judges nothing, decides nothing. It does nothing 
but prepare the matter for condensation and dis 
placement, and refashions it for dramatization, to 
which must be added the inconstant last-named 
mechanism that of explanatory elaboration. It 
is true that a good deal is found in the dream con 
tent which might be understood as the result of an 
other and more intellectual performance; but an 
alysis shows conclusively every time that these in 
tellectual operations were already present in the 
dream thoughts, and have only been taken over by 


the dream content. A syllogism in the dream is 
nothing other than the repetition of a syllogism in 
the dream thoughts; it seems inoffensive if it has 
been transferred to the dream without alteration; it 
becomes a-bsurd if in the dream work it has been 
transferred to other matter. A calculation in the 
dream content simply means that there was a cal 
culation in the dream thoughts ; whilst this is always 
correct, the calculation in the dream can furnish the 
silliest results by the condensation of its factors and 
the displacement of the same operations to other 
things. Even speeches which are found in the 
dream content are not new compositions ; they prove 
to be pieced together out of speeches which have 
been made or heard or read; the words are faith 
fully copied, but the occasion of their utterance is 
quite overlooked, and their meaning is most vio 
lently changed. 

It is, perhaps, not superfluous to support these 
assertions by examples : 

1. A seemingly inoffensive, well-made dream of 
a patient. She was going to market with her cook, 
who carried the basket. The butcher said to her 
when she asked him for something: "That is all 
gone and wished to give her something else, re 
marking : " That s very good." She declines, and 
goes to the greengrocer, who wants to sell her a 


peculiar vegetable which is bound up in bundle s and 
of a black color. She says: "I don t know that; I 
won t take it! 9 

The remark "That is all gone" arose from the 
treatment. A few days before I said myself to the 
patient that the earliest reminiscences of childhood 
are all gone as such, but are replaced by transfer 
ences and dreams. Thus I am the butcher. 

The second remark, ff l don t know that" arose 
in a very different connection. The day before she 
had herself called out in rebuke to the cook (who, 
moreover, also appears in the dream) : (< Behave 
yourself properly; I don t know that 3 * that is, "I 
don t know this kind of behavior; I won t have it." 
The more harmless portion of this speech was ar 
rived at by a displacement of the dream content ; in 
the dream thoughts only the other portion of the 
speech played a part, because the dream work 
changed an imaginary situation into utter irrecog- 
nizability and complete inoffensiveness (while in 
a certain sense I behave in an unseemly way to the 
lady) . The situation resulting in this phantasy is, 
however, nothing but a new edition of one that 
actually took place. 

2. A dream apparently meaningless relates to 
figures. "She wants to pay something; her daugh 
ter takes three florins sixty-five kreuzers out of her 


purse; but she says: What are you doing? It 
only cost twenty-one kreuzers 3 

The dreamer was a stranger who had placed her 
child at school in Vienna, and who was able to con 
tinue under my treatment so long as her daughter 
remained at Vienna. The day before the dream 
the directress of the school had recommended her 
to keep the child another year at school. In this 
case she would have been able to prolong her treat 
ment by one year. The figures in the dream be 
come important if it be remembered that time is 
money. One year equals 365 days, or, expressed 
in kreuzers, 3(>5 kreuzers, which is three florins 
sixty-five kreuzers. The twenty-one kreuzers cor 
respond with the three weeks which remained from 
the day of the dream to the end of the school term, 
and thus to the end of the treatment. It was ob 
viously financial considerations which had moved 
the lady to refuse the proposal of the directress, 
and which were answerable for the triviality of the 
amount in the dream. 

3. A lady, young, but already ten years married, 

heard that a friend of hers, Miss Elise L , of 

about the same age, had become engaged. This 
gave rise to the following dream: 

She was sitting with her husband in the theater; 
the one side of the stalls was quite empty. Her 


husband tells her, Elise L - and her fiance had 
intended coming, but could only get some cheap 
seats, three for one florin fifty kreuzers, and these 
they would not take. In her opinion, that woulU 
not have mattered very much. 

The origin of the figures from the matter of the 
dream thoughts and the changes the figures under 
went are of interest. Whence came the one florin 
fifty kreuzers? From a trifling occurrence of the 
previous day. Her sister-in-law had received 150 
florins as a present from her husband, and had 
quickly got rid of it by buying some ornament. 
Note that 150 florins is one hundred times one florin 
fifty kreuzers. For the three concerned with the 

tickets, the only link is that Elise L is exactly 

three months younger than the dreamer. The 
scene in the dream is the repetition of a little ad 
venture for which she has often been teased by her 
husband. She was once in a great hurry to get 
tickets in time for a piece, and when she came to the 
theater one side of the stalls was almost empty. 
It was therefore quite unnecessary for her to have 
been in such a hurry. Nor must we overlook the 
absurdity of the dream that two persons should take 
three tickets for the theater. 

Now for the dream ideas. It was stupid to have 
married so early ; I need not have been in so great a 


hurry. Elise L - s example shows me that I 
should have been able to get a husband later ; indeed, 
one a hundred times better if I had but waited. I 
could have bought three such men with the money 



IN the foregoing exposition we have now learnt 
something of the dream work; we must regard it as 
a quite special psychical process, which, so far as 
we are aware, resembles nothing else. To the 
dream work has been transferred that bewilderment 
which its product, the dream, has aroused in us. 
In truth, the dream work is only the first recogni 
tion of a group of psychical processes to which must 
be referred the origin of hysterical symptoms, the 
ideas of morbid dread, obsession, and illusion. 
Condensation, and especially displacement, are 
never-failing features in these other processes. 
The regard for appearance remains, on the other 
hand, peculiar to the dream work. If this explana 
tion brings the dream into line with the formation 
of psychical disease, it becomes the more important 
to fathom the essential conditions of processes like 
dream building. It will be probably a surprise to 
hear that neither the state of sleep nor illness is 
among the indispensable conditions. A whole 
number of phenomena of the everyday life of 



healthy persons, forgetfulness, slips in speaking 
and in holding things, together with a certain class 
of mistakes, are due to a psychical mechanism an 
alogous to that of the dream and the other mem 
bers of this group. 

Displacement is the core of the problem, and the 
most striking of all the dream performances. A 
thorough investigation of the subject shows that the 
essential condition of displacement is purely psy 
chological ; it is in the nature of a motive. We get 
on the track by thrashing out experiences which one 
cannot avoid in the analysis of dreams. I had to 
break off the relations of my dream thoughts in the 
analysis of my dream on p. 8 because I found some 
experiences which I do not wish strangers to know, 
and which I could not relate without serious damage 
to important considerations. I added, it would be 
no use were I to select another instead of that par 
ticular dream; in every dream where the content is 
obscure or intricate, I should hit upon dream 
thoughts which call for secrecy. If, however, I con 
tinue the analysis for myself, without regard to 
those others, for whom, indeed, so personal an event 
as my dream cannot matter, I arrive finally at ideas 
which surprise me, which I have not known to be 
mine, which not only appear foreign to me, but 
which are unpleasant, and which I would like to 


oppose vehemently, whilst the chain of ideas run 
ning through the analysis intrudes upon me inex 
orably. I can only take these circumstances into 
account by admitting that these thoughts are actu 
ally part of my psychical life, possessing a certain 
psychical intensity or energy. However, by vir 
tue of a particular psychological condition, the 
thoughts could not become conscious to me. I call 
this particular condition "Repression" It is there 
fore impossible for me not to recognize some casual 
relationship between the obscurity of the dream con 
tent and this state of repression this incapacity of 
consciousness. Whence I conclude that the cause 
of the obscurity is the desire to conceal these 
thoughts. Thus I arrive at the conception of the 
dream distortion as the deed of the dream work, 
and of displacement serving to disguise this object. 
I will test this in my own dream, and ask myself, 
What is the thought which, quite innocuous in its 
distorted form, provokes my liveliest opposition in 
its real form? I remember that the free drive re 
minded me of the last expensive drive with a mem 
ber of my family, the interpretation of the dream 
being: I should for once like to experience affec 
tion for which I should not have to pay, and that 
shortly before the dream I had to make a heavy 
disbursement for this very person. In this connec- 


tion, I cannot get away from the thought that I re 
gret this disbursement. It is only when I acknowl 
edge this feeling that there is any sense in my wish 
ing in the dream for an affection that should entail 
no outlay. And yet I can state on my honor that 
I did not hesitate for a moment when it became nec 
essary to expend that sum. The regret, the coun 
ter-current, was unconscious to me. Why it was 
unconscious is quite another question which would 
lead us far away from the answer which, though 
within my knowledge, belongs elsewhere. 

If I subject the dream of another person instead 
of one of my own to analysis, the result is the same ; 
the motives for convincing others is, however, 
changed. In the dream of a healthy person the 
only way for me to enable him to accept this re 
pressed idea is the coherence of the dream thoughts. 
He is at liberty to reject this explanation. But if 
we are dealing with a person suffering from any 
neurosis say from hysteria the recognition of 
these repressed ideas is compulsory by reason of 
their connection with the symptoms of his illness 
and of the improvement resulting from exchanging 
the symptoms for the repressed ideas. Take the 
patient from whom I got the last dream about the 
three tickets for one florin fifty kreuzers. Analysis 
shows that she does not think highly of her husband, 


that she regrets having married him, that she would 
be glad to change him for some one else. It is true 
that she maintains that she loves her husband y that 
her emotional life knows nothing about this depre 
ciation (a hundred times better!) , but all her symp 
toms lead to the same conclusion as this dream. 
When her repressed memories had rewakened a 
certain period when she was conscious that she did 
not love her husband, her symptoms disappeared, 
and therewith disappeared her resistance to the in 
terpretation of the dream. 

This conception of repression once fixed, together 
with the distortion of the dream in relation to re 
pressed psychical matter, we are in a position to 
give a general exposition of the principal results 
which the analysis of dreams supplies. We learnt 
that the most intelligible and meaningful dreams 
are unrealized desires; the desires they pictured as 
realized are known to consciousness, have been held 
over from the daytime, and are of absorbing inter 
est. The analysis of obscure and intricate dreams 
discloses something very similar; the dream scene 
again pictures as realized some desire which regu 
larly proceeds from the dream ideas, but the pic 
ture is unrecognizable, and is only cleared up in the 
analysis. The desire itself is either one repressed, 
foreign to consciousness, or it is closely bound up 


with repressed ideas. The formula for these 
dreams may be thus stated: They are concealed 
realizations of repressed desires. It is interesting 
to note that they are right who regard the dream as 
foretelling the future. Although the future which 
the dream shows us is not that which will occur, but 
that which we would like to occur. Folk psychol 
ogy proceeds here according to its wont ; it believes 
what it wishes to believe. 

Dreams can be divided into three classes accord 
ing to their relation towards the realization of de 
sire. Firstly come those which exhibit a non-re 
pressed, non-concealed desire; these are dreams of 
the infantile type, becoming ever rarer among 
adults. Secondly, dreams which express in veiled 
form some repressed desire; these constitute by far 
the larger number of our dreams, and they require 
analysis for their understanding. Thirdly, these 
dreams where repression exists, but without or with 
but slight concealment. These dreams are invaria 
bly accompanied by a feeling of dread which brings 
the dream to an end. This feeling of dread here 
replaces dream displacement ; I regarded the dream 
work as having prevented this in the dream of the 
second class. It is not very difficult to prove that 
what is now present as intense dread in the dream 


was once desire, and is now secondary to the repres 

There are also definite dreams with a painful con 
tent, without the presence of any anxiety in the 
dream. These cannot be reckoned among dreams 
of dread; they have, however, always been used to 
prove the unimportance and the psychical futility 
of dreams. An analysis of such an example will 
show that it belongs to our second class of dreams 
a perfectly concealed realization of repressed de 
sires. Analysis will demonstrate at the same time 
how excellently adapted is the work of displacement 
to the concealment of desires. 

A girl dreamt that she saw lying dead before her 
the only surviving child of her sister amid the same 
surroundings as a few years before she saw the first 
child lying dead. She was not sensible of any pain, 
but naturally combatted the view that the scene rep 
resented a desire of hers. Nor was that view nec 
essary. Years was at the funeral of the child 
that she had last seen and spoken to the man she 
loved. Were the second child to die, she would be 
sure to meet this man again in her sister s house. 
She is longing to meet him, but struggles against 
this feeling. The day of the dream she had taken a 
ticket for a lecture, which announced the presence 


of the man she always loved. The dream is simply 
a dream of impatience common to those which hap 
pen before a journey, theater, or simply anticipated 
pleasures. The longing is concealed by the shifting 
of the" scene to the occasion when any joyous feeling 
were out of place, and yet where it did once exist. 
Note, further, that the emotional behavior in the 
dream is adapted, not to the displaced, but to the 
real but suppressed dream ideas. The scene an 
ticipates the long-hoped-for meeting; there is here 
no call for painful emotions. 

There has hitherto been no occasion for philoso 
phers to bestir themselves with a psychology of re 
pression. We must be allowed to construct some 
clear conception as to the origin of dreams as the 
first steps in this unknown territory. The scheme 
which we have formulated not only from a study of 
dreams is, it is true, already somewhat complicated, 
but we cannot find any simpler one that will suffice. 
We hold that our psychical apparatus contains two 
procedures for the construction of thoughts. The 
second one has the advantage that its products find 
an open path to consciousness, whilst the activity 
of the first procedure is unknown to itself, and can 
only arrive at consciousness through the second one. 
At the borderland of these two procedures, where 
first passes over into the second, a censorship 


is established which only passes what pleases it, 
keeping back everything else. That which is re 
jected by the censorship is, according to our defini 
tion, in a state of repression. Under certain con 
ditions, one of which is the sleeping state, the bal 
ance of power between the two procedures is so 
changed that what is repressed can no longer be 
kept back. In the sleeping state this may possibly 
occur through the negligence of the censor; what 
has been hitherto repressed will now succeed in 
finding its way to consciousness. But as the cen 
sorship is never absent, but merely off guard, cer 
tain alterations must be conceded so as to placate 
it. It is a compromise which becomes conscious in 
this case a compromise between what one pro 
cedure has in view and the demands of the other. 
Repression, laocity of the censor, compromise this 
is the foundation for the origin of many another 
psychological process, just as it is for the dream. 
In such compromises we can observe the processes 
of condensation, of displacement, the acceptance of 
superficial associations, which we have found in the 
dream work. 

It is not for us to deny the demonic element 
which has played a part in constructing our ex 
planation of dream work. The impression left is 
that the formation of obscure dreams proceeds as 


if a person had something to say which must be dis 
agreeable for another person upon whom he is de 
pendent to hear. J[t_is bj the use of this image 
that we figure to ourselves the conception of the 
dream distortion and of the censorship, and ven 
tured to crystallize our impression in a rather crude, 
but at least definite, psychological theory. What 
ever explanation the future may off er of these first 
and second procedures, we shall expect a confirma 
tion of our correlate that the second procedure com 
mands the entrance to consciousness, and can ex 
clude the first from consciousness. 

Once the sleeping state overcome, the censorship 
resumes complete sway, and is now able to revoke 
that which was granted in a moment of weakness. 
That the forgetting of dreams explains this in part, 
at least, we are convinced by our experience, con 
firmed again and again. During the relation of a 
dream, or during analysis of one, it not infrequently 
happens that some fragment of the dream is sud 
denly forgotten. This fragment so forgotten in 
variably contains the best and readiest approach to 
an understanding of the dream. Probably that is 
why it sinks into oblivion i.e., into a renewed sup 

Viewing the dream content as the representation 
of a realized desire, and referring its vagueness to 


the changes made by the censor in the repressed 
matter, it is no longer difficult to grasp the func 
tion of dreams. In fundamental contrast with 
those saws which assume chat sleep is disturbed by 
dreams, we hold the dream as the guardian of sleep. 
So far as children s dreams are concerned, our view 
should find ready acceptance. 

The sleeping state or the psychical change to 
sleep, whatsoever it be, is brought about by the 
child being sent to sleep or compelled thereto by 
fatigue, only assisted by the removal of all stimuli 
which might open other objects to the psychical ap 
paratus. The means which serve to keep external 
stimuli distant are known; but what are the means 
we can employ to depress the internal psychical 
stimuli which frustrate sleep? Look at a mother 
getting her child to sleep. The child is full of be 
seeching; he wants another kiss; he wants to play 
yet awhile. His requirements are in part met, in 
part drastically put off till the following day. 
Clearly these desires and needs, which agitate him, 
are hindrances to sleep. Every one knows the 
charming story of the bad boy (Baldwin Groller s) 
who awoke at night bellowing out, "I want the 
rhinoceros." A really good boy, instead of bellow 
ing, would have dreamt that he was playing with 
the rhinoceros. Because the dream which realizes 


his desire is believed during sleep, it removes the de 
sire and makes sleep possible. It cannot be denied 
that this belief accords with the dream image, be 
cause it is arrayed in the psychical appearance of 
probability; the child is without the capacity which 
it will acquire later to distinguish hallucinations or 
phantasies from reality. 

The adult has learnt this diff erentktion ; he has 
also learnt the futility of desire, and by continuous 
practice manages to postpone his aspirations, 
until they can be granted in some roundabout 
method by a change in the external world. For 
this reason it is rare for him to have his wishes 
realized during sleep in the short psychical way. 
It is even possible that this never happens, and that 
everything which appears to us like a child s dream 
demands a much more elaborate explanation. 
Thus it is that for adults for every sane person 
without exception a differentiation of the psy 
chical matter has been fashioned which the child 
knew not. A psychical procedure has been reached 
which, informed by the experience of life, exercises 
with jealous power a dominating and restraining 
influence upon psychical emotions; by its relation 
to consciousness, and by its spontaneous mobility, 
it is endowed with the greatest means of psychical 
power. A portion of the infantile emotions has 


been withheld from this procedure as useless to life, 
and all the thoughts which flow from these are 
found in the state of repression. 

Whilst the procedure in which we recognize our 
normal ego reposes upon the desire for sleep, it ap 
pears compelled by the psycho-physiological con 
ditions of sleep to abandon some of tire energy with 
which it was wont during the day to keep down 
what was repressed. This neglect is really harm 
less ; however much the emotions of the child s spirit 
may be stirred, they find the approach to conscious 
ness rendered difficult, and that to movement 
blocked in consequence of the state of sleep. The 
danger of their disturbing sleep must, however, be 
avoided. Moreover, we must admit that even in 
deep sleep some amount of free attention is exerted 
as a protection against sense-stimuli which might, 
perchance, make an awakening seem wiser than the 
continuance of sleep. Otherwise we could not ex 
plain the fact of our being always awakened by 
stimuli of certain quality. As the old physiologist 
Burdach pointed out, the mother is awakened by 
the whimpering of her child, the miller by the cessa 
tion of his mill, most people by gently calling out 
their names. This attention, thus on the alert, 
makes use of the internal stimuli arising from re 
pressed desires, and fuses them into the dream, 


which as a compromise satisfies both procedures at 
the same time. The dream creates a form of psy 
chical release for the wish which is either suppressed 
or formed by the aid of repression, inasmuch as it 
presents it as realized. The other procedure is also 
satisfied, since the continuance of the sleep is as 
sured. Our ego here gladly behaves like a child; 
it makes the dream pictures believable, saying, as it 
were, "Quite right, but let me sleep." The con 
tempt which, once awakened, we bear the dream, 
and which rests upon the absurdity and apparent 
illogicality of the dream, is probably nothing but 
the reasoning of our sleeping ego on the feelings 
about what was repressed; with greater right it 
should rest upon the incompetency of this dis 
turber of our sleep. In sleep we are now and then 
aware of ]this contempt; the dream content trans 
cends the censorship rather too much, we think, 
"It s only a dream," and sleep on. 

It is no objection to this view if there are border 
lines for the dream where its function, to preserve 
sleep from interruption, can no longer be main 
tained as in the dreams of impending dread. It 
is here changed for another function to suspend 
the sleep at the proper time. It acts like a con 
scientious night-watchman, who first does his duty 
by quelling disturbances so as not to waken the 


citizen, but equally does his duty quite properly 
when he awakens the street should the causes of 
the trouble seem to him serious and himself un 
able to cope with them alone. 

This function of dreams becomes especially well 
marked when there arises some incentive for the 
sense perception. That the senses aroused during 
sleep influence the dream is well known, and can 
be experimentally verified; it is one of the certain 
but much overestimated results of the medical in 
vestigation of dreams. Hitherto there has been 
an insoluble riddle connected with this discovery. 
The stimulus to the sense by which the investigator 
affects the sleeper is not properly recognized in the 
dream, but is intermingled with a number of in 
definite interpretations, whose determination ap 
pears left to psychical free-will. There is, of 
course, no such psychical free-will. To an external 
sense-stimulus the sleeper can react in many ways, 
Either he awakens or he succeeds in sleeping on. 
In the latter case he can make use of the dream to 
dismiss the external stimulus, and this, again, in 
more ways than one. For instance, he can stay 
the stimulus by dreaming of a scene which is abso 
lutely intolerable to him. This was the means used 
by one who was troubled by a painful perineal ab 
scess. He dreamt that he was on horseback, and 


made use of the poultice, which was intended to 
alleviate his pain, as a saddle, and thus got away 
from the cause of the trouble. Or, as is more fre 
quently the case, the external stimulus undergoes 
a new rendering, which leads him to connect it 
with a repressed desire seeking its realization, and 
robs him of its reality, and is treated as if it were a 
part of the psychical matter. Thus, some one 
dreamt that he had written a comedy which em 
bodied a definite motif; it was being performed; 
the first act was over amid enthusiastic applause; 
there was great clapping. At this moment the 
dreamer must have succeeded in prolonging his 
sleep despite the disturbance, for when he woke he 
no longer heard the noise ; he concluded rightly that 
some one must have been beating a carpet or bed. 
The dreams which come with a loud noise just 
before waking have all attempted to cover the stim 
ulus to waking by some other explanation, and thus 
to prolong the sleep for a little while. 

Whosoever has firmly accepted this censorship as 
the chief motive for the distortion of dreams will 
not be surprised to learn as the result of dream in 
terpretation that most of the dreams of adults are 
traced by analysis to erotic desires. This assertion 
is not drawn from dreams obviously of a sexual 
nature, which are known to all dreamers from their 


own experience, and are the only ones usually de 
scribed as "sexual dreams." These dreams are ever 
sufficiently mysterious by reason of the choice of 
persons who are made the objects of sex, the re 
moval of all the barriers which cry halt to the 
dreamer s sexual needs in his waking state, the 
many strange reminders as to details of what are 
called perversions. But analysis discovers that, in 
many other dreams in whose manifest content noth 
ing erotic can be found, the work of interpretation 
shows them up as, in reality, realization of sexual 
desires ; whilst, on the other hand, that much of the 
thought-making when awake, the thoughts saved 
us as surplus from the day only, reaches presenta 
tion in dreams with the help of repressed erotic de 

Towards the explanation of this statement, which 
is no theoretical postulate, it must be remembered 
that no other class of instincts has required so vast 
a suppression at the behest of civilization as the 
sexual, whilst their mastery by the highest psych 
ical processes are in most persons soonest of all 
relinquished. Since we have learnt to understand 
infantile sexuality, often so vague in its expression, 
so invariably overlooked and misunderstood, we are 
justified in saying that nearly every civilized person 
has retained at some point or other the infantile 


type of sex life ; thus we understand that repressed 
infantile sex desires furnish the most frequent and 
most powerful impulses for the formation of 
dreams. 1 

If the dream, which is the expression of some 
erotic desire, succeeds in making its manifest con 
tent appear innocently asexual, it is only possible 
in one way. The matter of these sexual presenta 
tions cannot be exhibited as such, but must be re 
placed by allusions, suggestions, and similar indi 
rect means; differing from other cases of indirect 
presentation, those used in dreams must be deprived 
of direct nnderstanding. The means of presenta 
tion which answer these requirements are commonly 
termed "symbols." A special interest has been di 
rected towards these, since it has been observed that 
the dreamers of the same language use the like sym 
bols indeed, that in certain cases community of 
symbol is greater than community of speech. 
Since the dreamers do not themselves know the 
meaning of the symbols they use, it remains a puz 
zle whence arises their relationship with what they 
replace and denote. The fact itself is undoubted, 
and becomes of importance for the technique of the 

i Freud, "Three Contributions to Sexual Theory," translated by 
A. A. Brill (Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing 
Company, New York). 


interpretation of dreams, since by the aid of a 
knowledge of this symbolism it is possible to under 
stand the meaning of the elements of a dream, or 
parts of a dream, occasionally even the whole 
dream itself, without having to question the 
dreamer as to his own ideas. We thus come near 
to the popular idea of an interpretation of dreams, 
and, on the other hand, possess again the technique 
of the ancients, among whom the interpretation of 
dreams was identical with their explanation through 

Though the study of dream symbolism is far re 
moved from finality, we now possess a series of gen 
eral statements and of particular observations 
which are quite certain. There are symbols which 
practically always have the same meaning: Em 
peror and Empress (King and Queen) always 
mean the parents; room, a woman, 1 and so on. 
The sexes are represented by a great variety of 
symbols, many of which would be at first quite in 
comprehensible had not the clews to the meaning 
been often obtained through other channels. 

There are symbols of universal circulation, found 
in all dreamers, of one range of speech and culture ; 

i The words from "and" to "channels" in the next sentence is a 
short summary of the passage in the original. As this book will be 
read by other than professional people the passage has not been 
translated, in deference to English opinion. TRANSLATOR. 


there are others of the narrowest individual signifi 
cance which an individual has built up out of his 
own material. In the first class those can be differ 
entiated whose claim can be at once recognized by 
the replacement of sexual things in common speech 
(those, for instance, arising from agriculture, as 
reproduction, seed) from others whose sexual refer 
ences appear to reach back to the earliest times 
and to the obscurest depths of our image-building. 
The power of building symbols in both these special 
forms of symbols has not died out. Recently dis 
covered things, like the airship, are at once brought 
into universal use as sex symbols. 

It would be quite an error to suppose that a pro- 
founder knowledge of dream symbolism (the "Lan 
guage of Dreams") would make us independent of 
questioning the dreamer regarding his impressions 
about the dream, and would give us back the whole 
technique of ancient dream interpreters. Apart 
from individual symbols and the variations in the 
use of what is general, one never knows whether 
an element in the dream is to be understood sym 
bolically or in its proper meaning; the whole con 
tent of the dream is certainly not to be interpreted 
symbolically. The knowledge of dream symbols 
will only help us in understanding portions of the 
dream content, and does not render the use of the 


technical rules previously given at all superfluous. 
But it must be of the greatest service in interpret 
ing a dream just when the impressions of the 
dreamer are withheld or are insufficient. 

Dream symbolism proves also indispensable for 
understanding the so-called "typical" dreams and 
the dreams that "repeat themselves." Dream sym 
bolism leads us far beyond the dream; it does not 
belong only to dreams, but is likewise dominant in 
legend, myth, and saga, in wit and in folklore. It 
compels us to pursue the inner meaning of the 
dream in these productions. But we must ac 
knowledge that symbolism is not a result of the 
dream work, but is a peculiarity probably of our 
unconscious thinking, which furnishes to the dream 
work the matter for condensation, displacement, 
and dramatization. 



PERHAPS we shall now begin to suspect that dream 
interpretation is capable of giving us hints about 
the structure of our psychic apparatus which we 
have thus far expected in vain from philosophy. 
We shall not, however, follow this track, but re 
turn to our original problem as soon as we have 
cleared up the subject of dream-disfigurement. 
The question has arisen how dreams with disagree 
able content can be analyzed as the fulfillment of 
wishes. We see now that this is possible in case 
dream-disfigurement has taken place, in case the 
disagreeable content serves only as a disguise for 
what is wished. Keeping in mind our assumptions 
in regard to the two psychic instances, we may now 
proceed to say : disagreeable dreams, as a matter of 
fact, contain something which is disagreeable to the 
second instance, but which at the same time fulfills 
a wish of the first instance. They are wish dreams 
in the sense that every dream originates in the first 
instance, while the second instance acts towards the 
dream only in repelling, not in a creative manner. 



If we limit ourselves to a consideration of what the 
second instance contributes to the dream, we can 
never understand the dream. If we do so, all the 
riddles which the authors have found in the dream 
remain unsolved. 

That the dream actually has a secret meaning, 
which turns out to be the fulfillment of a wish, must 
be proved afresh for every case by means of an 
analysis. I therefore select several dreams which 
have painful contents and attempt an analysis of 
them. They are partly dreams of hysterical sub 
jects, which require long preliminary statements, 
and now and then also an examination of the 
psychic processes which occur in hysteria. I can 
not, however, avoid this added difficulty in the ex 

When I give a psychoneurotic patient analytical 
treatment, dreams are always, as I have said, the 
subject of our discussion. It must, therefore, give 
him all the psychological explanations through 
whose aid I myself have come to an understanding 
of his symptoms, and here I undergo an unsparing 
criticism, which is perhaps not less keen than that I 
must expect from my colleagues. Contradiction 
of the thesis that all dreams are the fulfillments of 
wishes is raised by my patients with perfect regu 
larity. Here are several examples of the dream 


material which is offered me to refute this position. 

"You always tell me that the dream is a wish ful 
filled," begins a clever lady patient. "Now I shall 
tell you a dream in which the content is quite the 
opposite, in which a wish of mine is not fulfilled. 
How do you reconcile that with your theory? The 
dream is as follows : 

ff l want to give a supper, but having nothing at 
hand except some smoked salmon, I think of going 
marketing, but I remember that it is Sunday after 
noon, when all the shops are closed. I next try to 
telephone to some caterers, but the telephone is out 
of order. . . Thus I must resign my wish to give a 

I answer, of course, that only the analysis can de 
cide the meaning of this dream, although I admit 
that at first sight it seems sensible and coherent, 
and looks like the opposite of a wish-fulfillment. 
"But what occurrence has given rise to this dream?" 
I ask. "You know that the stimulus for a dream 
always lies among the experiences of the preceding 

Analysis. The husband of the patient, an up 
right and conscientious wholesale butcher, had told 
her the day before that he is growing too fat, and 
that he must, therefore, begin treatment for obesity. 
He was going to get up early, take exercise, keep 


to a strict diet, and above all accept no more invita 
tions to suppers. She proceeds laughingly to re 
late how her husband at an inn table had made the 
acquaintance of an artist, who insisted upon paint 
ing his portrait because he, the painter, had never 
found such an expressive head. But her husband 
had answered in his rough way, that he was very 
thankful for the honor, but that he was quite con 
vinced that a portion of the backside of a pretty 
young girl would please the artist better than his 
whole face. 1 She said that she was at the time very 
much in love with her husband, and teased him a 
good deal. She had also asked him not to send 
her any caviare. What does that mean? 

As a matter of fact, she had wanted for a long 
time to eat a caviare sandwich every forenoon, but 
had grudged herself the expense. Of course, she 
would at once get the caviare from her husband, as 
soon as she asked him for it. But she had begged 
him, on the contrary, not to send her the caviare, 
in order that she might tease him about it longer. 

This explanation seems far-fetched to me. Un 
admitted motives are in the habit of hiding behind 
such unsatisfactory explanations. We are re 
minded of subjects hypnotized by Bernheim, who 

i To sit for the painter. Goethe : "And if he has no backside, how 
can the nobleman sit?" 


carried out a posthypnotic order, and who, upon 
being asked for their motives, instead of answer 
ing: "I do not know why I did that," had to in 
vent a reason that was obviously inadequate. 
Something similar is probably the case with the 
caviare of my patient. I see that she is compelled 
to create an unfulfilled wish in life. Her dream 
also shows the reproduction of the wish as accom 
plished. But why does she need an unfulfilled 

The ideas so far produced are insufficient for the 
interpretation of the dream. I beg for more. 
After a short pause, which corresponds to the over 
coming of a resistance, she reports further that the 
day before she had made a visit to a friend, of 
whom she is really jealous, because her husband is 
always praising this woman so much. Fortunately, 
this friend is very lean and thin, and her husband 
likes well-rounded figures. Now of what did this 
lean friend speak? Naturally of her wish to be 
come somewhat stouter. She also asked my pa 
tient: "When are you going to invite us again? 
You always have such a good table." 

Now the meaning of the dream is clear. I may 
say to the patient: "It is just as though you had 
thought at the time of the request: Of course, 
I ll invite you, so you can eat yourself fat -at my 


house and become still more pleasing to my hus 
band. I would rather give no more suppers. 
The dream then tells you that you cannot give a 
supper, thereby fulfilling your wish not to con 
tribute anything to the rounding out of your 
friend s figure. The resolution of your husband to 
refuse invitations to supper for the sake of getting 
thin teaches you that one grows fat on the things 
served in company." Now only some conversation 
is necessary to confirm the solution. The smoked 
salmon in the dream has not yet been traced. 
"How did the salmon mentioned in the dream occur 
to you?" "Smoked salmon is the favorite dish of 
this friend," she answered. I happen to know the 
lady, and may corroborate this by saying that she 
grudges herself the salmon just as much as my pa 
tient grudge s herself the caviare. 

The dream admits of still another and more exact 
interpretation, which is necessitated only by a sub 
ordinate circumstance. The two interpretations do 
not contradict one another, but rather cover each 
other and furnish a neat example of the usual am 
biguity of dreams as well as of all other psycho- 
pathological formations. We have seen that at the 
same time that she dreams of the denial of the wish, 
the patient is in reality occupied in securing an un 
fulfilled wish (the caviare sandwiches). Her 


friend, too, had expressed a wish, namely, to get 
fatter, and it would not surprise us if our lady had 
dreamt that the wish of the friend was not being 
fulfilled. For it is her own wish that a wish of her 
friend s for increase in weight should not be ful 
filled. Instead of this, however, she dreams that 
one of her own wishes is not fulfilled. The dream 
becomes capable of a new interpretation, if in the 
dream she does not intend herself, but her friend, 
if she has put herself in the place of her friend, 
or, as we may say, has identified herself with her 

I think she has actually done this, and as a sign 
of this identification she has created an unfulfilled 
wish in reality. But what is the meaning of this 
hysterical identification? To clear this up a 
thorough exposition is necessary. Identification is 
a highly important factor in the mechanism of hys 
terical symptoms; by this means patients are en 
abled in their symptoms to represent not merely 
their own experiences, but the experiences of a 
great number of other persons, and can suffer, as it 
were, for a whole mass of people, and fill all the 
parts of a drama by means of their own personali 
ties alone. It will here be objected that this is 
well-known hysterical imitation, the ability of hys 
teric subjects to copy all the symptoms which im- 


press them when they occur in others, as though 
their pity were stimulated to the point of repro 
duction. But this only indicates the way in which 
the psychic process is discharged in hysterical imi 
tation; the way in which a psychic act proceeds and 
the act itself are two different things. The latter 
is slightly more complicated than one is apt to im 
agine the imitation of hysterical subjects to be: it 
corresponds to an unconscious concluded process, as 
an example will show. The physician who has a 
female patient with a particular kind of twitching, 
lodged in the company of other patients in the same 
room of the hospital, is not surprised when some 
morning he learns that this peculiar hysterical at 
tack has found imitations. He simply says to him 
self : The others have seen her and have done like 
wise: that is psychic infection. Yes, but psychic 
infection proceeds in somewhat the following man 
ner: As a rule, patients know more about one 
another than the physician knows about each of 
them, and they are concerned about each other when 
the visit of the doctor is over. Some of them have 
an attack to-day: soon it is known among the rest 
that a letter from home, a return of lovesickness or 
the like, is the cause of it. Their sympathy is 
aroused, and the following syllogism, which does 
not reach consciousness, is completed in them: "If 


it is possible to have this kind of an attack from 
such causes, I too may have this kind of an attack, 
for I have the same reasons." If this were a cycle 
capable of becoming conscious, it would perhaps 
express itself in fear of getting the same attack; 
but it takes place in another psychic sphere, and, 
therefore, ends in the realization of the dreaded 
symptom. Identification is therefore not a simple 
imitation, but a sympathy based upon the same 
etiological claim; it expresses an "as though," and 
refers to some common quality which has remained 
in the unconscious. 

Identification is most often used in hysteria to 
express sexual community. An hysterical woman 
identifies herself most readily although not exclu 
sively with persons with whom she has had sexual 
relations, or who have sexual intercourse with the 
same persons as herself. Language takes such a 
conception into consideration: two lovers are "one." 
In the hysterical phantasy, as well as in the dream, 
it is sufficient for the identification if one thinks of 
sexual relations, whether or not they become real. 
The patient, then, only follows the rules of the hys 
terical thought processes when she gives expression 
to her jealousy of her friend (which, moreover, she 
herself admits to be unjustified, in that she puts 
herself in her place and identifies herself with her 


by creating a symptom the denied wish). I 
might further clarify the process specifically as fol 
lows : She puts herself in the place of her friend in 
the dream, because her friend has taken her own 
place relation to her husband, and because she 
would like to take her friend s place in the esteem 
of her husband. 1 

The contradiction to my theory of dreams in the 
case of another female patient, the most witty 
among all my dreamers, was solved in a simpler 
manner, although according to the scheme that the 
non-fulfillment of one wish signifies the fulfill 
ment of another. I had one day explained to 
her that the dream is a wish of fulfillment. The 
next day she brought me a dream to the ef 
fect that she was traveling with her mother-in- 
law to their common summer resort. Now I 
knew that she had struggled violently against 
spending the summer in the neighborhood of her 
mother-in-law. I also knew that she had luckily 
avoided her mother-in-law by renting an es 
tate in a far-distant country resort. Now the 

1 1 myself regret the introduction of such passages from the psycho- 
pathology of hysteria, which, because of their fragmentary repre 
sentation and of being torn from all connection with the subject, can 
not have a very enlightening influence. If these passages are capable 
of throwing light upon the intimate relations between the dream and 
the psychoneuroses, they have served the purpose for which I have 
taken them up. 


dream reversed this wished- for solution; was not 
this in the flattest contradiction to my theory of 
wish- fulfillment in the dream? Certainly, it was 
only necessary to draw the inferences from this 
dream in order to get at its interpretation. Ac 
cording to this dream, I was in the wrong. It was 
thus her wish that I should be in the wrong, and 
this wish the dream showed her as fulfilled. But 
the wish that I should be in the wrong, which was 
fulfilled in the theme of the country home, referred 
to a more serious matter. At that time I had made 
up my mind, from the material furnished by her 
analysis, that something of significance for her ill 
ness must have occurred at a certain time in her life. 
She had denied it because it was not present in her 
memory. We soon came to see that I was in the 
right. Her wish that I should be in the wrong, 
which is transformed into the dream, thus corre 
sponded to the justifiable wish that those things, 
which at the time had only been suspected, had never 
occurred at all. 

Without an analysis, and merely by means of an 
assumption, I took the liberty of interpreting a 
little occurrence in the case of a friend, who had 
been my colleague through the eight classes of the 
Gymnasium. He once heard a lecture of mine de- 


livered to a small assemblage, on the novel subject 
of the dream as the fulfillment of a wish. He went 
home, dreamt that he had lost all his suits he was 
a lawyer and then complained to me about it. I 
took refuge in the evasion: "One can t win all 
one s suits," but I thought to myself: "If for eight 
years I sat as Primus on the first bench, while he 
moved around somewhere in the middle of the class, 
may he not naturally have had a wish from his boy 
hood days that I, too, might for once completely 
disgrace myself?" 

In the same way another dream of a more gloomy 
character was offered me by a female patient as a 
contradiction to my theory of the wish-dream. The 
patient, a young girl, began as follows: "You re 
member that my sister has now only one boy, 
Charles: she lost the elder one, Otto, while I was 
still at her house. Otto was my favorite; it was I 
who really brought him up. I like the other little 
fellow, too, but of course not nearly as much as the 
dead one. Now I dreamt last night that / saw 
Charles lying dead before me. He was lying in his 
little coffin, his hands folded: there were candles all 
about, and, in short, it was just like the time of little 
Otto s death, which shocked me so profoundly. 
Now tell me, what does this mean? You know me : 


am I really bad enough to wish my sister to lose the 
only child she has left? Or does the dream mean 
that I wish Charles to be dead rather than Otto, 
whom I like so much better?" 

I assured her that this interpretation was impos 
sible. After some reflection I was able to give her 
the interpretation of the dream, w r hich I subse 
quently made her confirm. 

Having become an orphan at an early age, the 
girl had been brought up in the house of a much 
older sister, and had met among the friends and 
visitors who came to the house, a man who made a 
lasting impression upon her heart. It looked forla 
time as though these barely expressed relations 
were to end in marriage, hut this happy culmination 
was frustrated by the sister, whose motives have 
never found a complete explanation. After the 
break, the man who was loved by our patient 
avoided the house: she herself became independent 
some time after little Otto s death, to whom her 
affection had now turned. But she did not succeed 
in freeing herself from the inclination for her sister s 
friend in which she had become involved. Her 
pride commanded her to avoid him; but it was im 
possible for her to transfer her love to the other 
suitors who presented themselves in order. When 
ever the man whom she loved, who was a member 


of the literary profession, announced a lecture any 
where, she was sure to be found in the audience ; she 
also seized every other opportunity to see him from 
a distance unobserved by him. I remembered that 
on the day before she had told me that the Professor 
was going to a certain concert, and that she was also 
going there, in order to enjoy the sight of him. 
This was on the day of the dream; and the concert 
was to take place on the day on which she told me 
the dream. I could now easily see the correct in 
terpretation, and I asked her whether she could 
think of any event which had happened after the 
death of little Otto. She answered immediately: 
"Certainly; at that time the Professor returned 
after a long absence, and I saw him once more be 
side the coffin of little Otto." It was exactly as I 
had expected. I interpreted the dream in the fol 
lowing manner: If now the other boy were to die, 
the same thing would be repeated. You would 
spend the day with your sister, the Professor would 
surely come in order to offer condolence, and you 
would see him again under the same circumstances 
as at that time. The dream signifies nothing but 
this wish of yours to see him again, against which 
you are fighting inwardly. I know that you are 
carrying the ticket for to-day s concert in your bag. 
Your dream is a dream of impatience ; it has antici- 


pated the meeting which is to take place to-day by 
several hours." 

In order to disguise her wish she had obviously 
selected a situation in which wishes of that sort are 
commonly suppressed a situation which is so filled 
with sorrow that love is not thought of. And yet, 
it is very easily probable that even in the actual 
situation at the bier of the second, more dearly loved 
boy, which the dream copied faithfully, she had not 
been able to suppress her feelings of affection for 
the visitor whom she had missed for so long a time. 

A different explanation was found in the case of 
a similar dream of another female patient, who was 
distinguished in her earlier years by her quick wit 
and her cheerful demeanors and who still showed 
these qualities at least in the notion, which occurred 
to her in the course of treatment. In connection 
with a longer dream, it seemed to this lady that she 
saw her fifteen-year-old daughter lying dead be 
fore her in a box. She was strongly inclined to 
convert this dream-image into an objection to the 
theory of wish-fulfillment, but herself suspected 
that the detail of the box must lead to a different 
conception of the dream. 1 In the course of the 
analysis it occurred to her that on the evening be- 

i Something like the smoked salmon in the dream of the deferred 


fore, the conversation of the company had turned 
upon the English word "box," and upon the numer 
ous translations of it into German, such as box, 
theater box, chest, box on the ear, &c. From other 
components of the same dream it is now possible 
to add that the lady had guessed the relationship 
between the English word "box" and the German 
Buchse, and had then been haunted by the memory 
that Biichse (as well as "box") is used in vulgar 
speech to designate the female genital organ. It 
was therefore possible, making a certain allowance 
for her notions on the subject of topographical an 
atomy, to assume that the child in the box signified 
a child in the womb of the mother. At this stage 
of the explanation she no longer denied that the 
picture of the dream really corresponded to one of 
her wishes. Like so many other young women, 
she was by no means happy when she became preg 
nant, and admitted to me more than once the wish 
that her child might die before its birth ; in a fit of 
anger following a violent scene with her husband 
she had even struck her abdomen with her fists in 
order to hit the child within. The dead child was, 
therefore, really the fulfillment of a wish, but a 
wish which had been put aside for fifteen years, and 
it is not surprising that the fulfillment of the wish 
was no longer recognized after so long an interval. 


For there had been many changes meanwhile. 
The group of dreams to which the two last men 
tioned belong, having as content the death of be 
loved relatives, will be considered again under the 
head of "Typical Dreams." I shall there be able 
to show by new examples that in spite of their un 
desirable content, all these dreams must be inter 
preted as wish-fulfillments. For the following 
dream, w r hich again was told me in order to deter 
me from a hasty generalization of the theory of 
wishing in dreams, I am indebted, not to a patient, 
but to an intelligent jurist of my acquaintance. ff l 
dream/ my informant tells me, "that I am walking 
in front of my house with a lady on my arm. Here 
a closed wagon is waiting, a gentleman steps up to 
me, gives his authority as an agent of the police, 
and demands that I should follow him. I only ask 
for time in which to arrange my affairs. Can you 
possibly suppose this is a wish of mine to be ar 
rested?" "Of course not," I must admit. "Do 
you happen to know upon what charge you were 
arrested?" "Yes; I believe for infanticide." "In 
fanticide? But you know that only a mother can 
commit this crime upon her newly born child?" 
"That is true." l "And under what circumstances 

i It often happens that a dream is told incompletely, and that a 
recollection of the omitted portions appear only in the course of the 


did you dream; what happened on the evening be 
fore?" "I would rather not tell you that; it is a 
delicate matter." "But I must have it, otherwise 
we must forgo the interpretation of the dream." 
"Well, then, I will tell you. I spent the night, not 
at home, but at the house of a lady who means very 
much to me. When we awoke in the morning, 
something again passed between us. Then I went 
to sleep again, and dreamt what I have told you." 
"The woman is married?" "Yes." "And you do 
not wish her to conceive a child?" "No; that might 
betray us." "Then you do not practice normal 
coitus? "I take the precaution to withdraw before 
ej aculation." "Am I permitted to assume that you 
did this trick several times during the night, and 
that in the morning you were not quite sure whether 
you had succeeded?" "That might be the case." 
"Then your dream is the fulfillment of a wish. By 
means of it you secure the assurance that you have 
not begotten a child, or, what amounts to the same 
thing, that you have killed a child. I can easily 
demonstrate the connecting links. Do you remem 
ber, a few days ago we were talking about the dis 
tress of matrimony (Ehenot) , and about the incon 
sistency of permitting the practice of coitus as long 

analysis. These portions subsequently fitted in, regularly furnish 
the key to the interpretation. Cf. below, about forgetting in dreams, 


as no impregnation takes place, while every de 
linquency after the ovum and the semen meet and 
a foetus is formed is punished as a crime? In con 
nection with this, we also recalled the mediaeval con 
troversy about the moment of time at which the soul 
is really lodged in the foetus, since the concept of 
murder becomes admissible only from that point 
on. Doubtless you also know the gruesome poem 
by Lenau, which puts infanticide and the preven 
tion of children on the same plane." "Strangely 
enough, I had happened to think of Lenau during 
the afternoon." "Another echo of your dream. 
And now I shall demonstrate to you another sub 
ordinate wish- fulfillment in your dream. You 
walk in front of your house with the lady on your 
arm. So you take her home, instead of spending 
the night at her house, as you do in actuality. The 
fact that the wish-fulfillment, which is the essence 
of the dream, disguises itself in such an unpleasant 
form, has perhaps more than one reason. From 
my essay on the etiology of anxiety neuroses, you 
will see that I note interrupted coitus as one of the 
factors which cause the development of neurotic 
fear. It would be consistent with this that if after 
repeated cohabitation of the kind mentioned you 
should be left in an uncomfortable mood, which now 
becomes an element in the composition of your 


dream. You also make use of this unpleasant state 
of mind to conceal the wish-fulfillment.. Further 
more, the mention of infanticide has not yet been 
explained. Why does this crime, which is peculiar 
to females, occur to you?" "I shall confess to you 
that I was involved in such an affair years ago. 
Through my fault a girl tried to protect herself 
from the consequences of a liaison with me by secur 
ing an abortion. I had nothing to do with carry 
ing out the plan, but I was naturally for a long 
time worried lest the affair might be discovered." 
"I understand; this recollection furnished a second 
reason why the supposition that you had done your 
trick badly must have been painful to you. * 

A young physician, who had heard this dream of 
my colleague when it was told, must have felt im 
plicated by it, for he hastened to imitate it in a 
dream of his own, applying its mode of thinking to 
another subject. The day before he had handed 
in a declaration of his income, which was perfectly 
honest, because he had little to declare. He dreamt 
that an acquaintance of his came from a meeting 
of the tax commission and informed him that all 
the other declarations of income had passed uncon- 
tested, but that his own had awakened general sus 
picion, and that he would be punished with a heavy 
fine. The dream is a poorly-concealed fulfillment 


of the wish to be known as a physician with a large 
income. It likewise recalls the story of the young 
girl who was advised against accepting her suitor 
because he was a man of quick temper who would 
surely treat her to blows after they were mar 

The answer of the girl was: "I wish he would 
strike me!" Her wish to be married is so strong 
that she takes into the bargain the discomfort which 
is said to be connected with matrimony, and which 
is predicted for her, and even raises it to a wish. 

If I group the very frequently occurring dreams 
of this sort, which seem flatly to contradict my 
theory, in that they contain the denial of a Mash or 
some occurrence decidedly unwished for, under the 
head of "counter wish-dreams," I observe that they 
may all be referred to two principles, of which one 
has not yet been mentioned, although it plays a 
large part in the dreams of human beings. One of 
the motives inspiring these dreams is the wish that 
I should appear in the wrong. These dreams regu 
larly occur in the course of my treatment if the pa 
tient shows a resistance against me, and I can count 
with a large degree of certainty upon causing such 
a dream after I have once explained to the patient 
my theory that the dream is a wish-fulfillment. 1 I 

i Similar "counter wish-dreams" have been repeatedly reported to 
me within the last few years by rny pupils who thus reacted to their 
first encounter with the " wish theory of the dream." 


may even expect this to be the case in a dream 
merely in order to fulfill the wish that I may appear 
in the wrong. The last dream which I shall tell 
from those occurring in the course of treatment 
again shows this very thing. A young girl who 
has struggled hard to continue my treatment, 
against the will of her relatives and the authorities 
whom she had consulted, dreams as follows: She 
is forbidden at home to come to me any more. She 
then reminds me of the promise I made her to treat 
her for nothing if necessary, and I say to her: "I 
can show no consideration in money matters." 

It is not at all easy in this case to demonstrate 
the fulfillment of a wish, but in all cases of this kind 
there is a second problem, the solution of which 
helps also to solve the first. Where does she get 
the words which she puts into my mouth? Of 
course I have never told her anything like that, but 
one of her brothers, the very one who has the great 
est influence over her, has been kind enough to make 
this remark about me. It is then the purpose of 
the dream that this brother should remain in the 
right; and she does not try to justify this brother 
merely in the dream; it is her purpose in life and 
the motive for her being ill. 

The other motive for counter wish-dreams is so 


clear that there is danger of overlooking it, as for 
some time happened in my own case. In the sexual 
make-up of many people there is a masochistic com 
ponent, which has arisen through the conversion of 
the aggressive, sadistic component into its opposite. 
Such people are called "ideal" masochists, if they 
seek pleasure not in the bodily pain which may be 
inflicted upon them, but in humiliation and in 
chastisement of the soul. It is obvious that such 
persons can have counter wish-dreams and disagree 
able dreams, which, however, for them are nothing 
but wish-fulfillment, affording satisfaction for their 
masochistic inclinations. Here is such a dream. 
A young man, who has in earlier years tormented 
his elder brother, towards whom he was homosexu- 
ally inclined, but who had undergone a complete 
change of character, has the following dream, which 
consists of three parts: (1) He is "insulted" by 
his brother. (2) Two adults are caressing each 
other with homosexual intentions. (3) His 
brother has sold the enterprise whose management 
the young man reserved for his own future. He 
awakens from the last-mentioned dream with the 
most unpleasant feelings, and yet it is a masochis 
tic wish-dream, which might be translated: It 
would serve me quite right if my brother were to 
make that sale against my interest, as a punishment 


for all the torments which he has suffered at my 

I hope that the above discussion and examples 
will suffice until further objection can be raised 
to make it seem credible that even dreams with a 
painful content are to be analyzed as the fulfill 
ments of wishes. Nor will it seem a matter of 
chance that in the course of interpretation one al 
ways happens upon subjects of which one does not 
like to speak or think. The disagreeable sensation 
which such dreams arouse is simply identical with 
the antipathy which endeavors usually with suc 
cess to restrain us from the treatment or discus 
sion of such subjects, and which must be overcome 
by all of us, if, in spite of its unpleasantness, we 
find it necessary to take the matter in hand. But 
this disagreeable sensation, which occurs also in 
dreams, does not preclude the existence of a wish; 
every one has wishes which he would not like to tell 
to others, which he does not want to admit even to 
himself. We are, on other grounds, justified in 
connecting the disagreeable character of all these 
dreams with the fact of dream disfigurement, and 
in concluding that these dreams are distorted, and 
that the wish-fulfillment in them is disguised until 
recognition is impossible for no other reason than 
that a repugnance, a will to suppress, exists in rela- 


tion to the subject-matter..of the dream_r_in rela 
tion to the wish which the dream creates. Dream 
disfigurement, then, turns out in reality to be an act 
of _the censor. We shall take into consideration 
everything which the analysis of disagreeable 
dreams has brought to light if we reword our 
formula as follows: The .dream is. the (disguised) 
fulfillment of a (suppressed, repressed) wish. 

Now there still remain as a particular species of 
dreams with painful content, dreams of anxiety, 
the inclusion of which under dreams of wishing will 
find least acceptance with the uninitiated. But I 
can settle the problem of anxiety. .dreams in very 
short order ; for what they may reveal is not a new 
aspect of the dream problem; it is a question in 
their case of understanding neurotic anxiety in geix- 
.eral. The fear which we experience in the dream 
is only seemingly explained by the dream content. 
If we subject the content of the dream to analysis, 
we become aware that the dream fear is no more 
justified by the dream content than the fear in a 
phobia is justified by the idea upon which the phobia 
depends. For example, it is true that it is possible 
to fall out of a window, and that some care must be 
exercised when one is near a window, but it is inex 
plicable why the anxiety in the corresponding 
phobia is so great, and why it follows its victims to 


an extent so much greater than is warranted by its 
origin. The same explanation, then, which ap 
plies to the phobia applies also to the dream of 
anxiety. In both cases the anxiety is only super.- 

! 1 (_^1L1 JL\ cl L LclCJllCC 1 vO "C11C JdCcX vvXllOXl cvC-C/OiHT3t*iAlCiS 1L 

and comes from ano hcr source. 

On account of the intimate relation of dream fear 
to neurotic fear, discussion of the former obliges 
me to refer to the latter. In a little essay on "The 
Anxiety Neurosis," l I maintained that neurotic 
.fear has its origin in the sexual life, and corresponds 
to. a libido which has been turned away from its 
object and has not succeeded in being applied. 
From this formula, which has since proved its valid 
ity more and more clearly, we may deduce the con 
clusion that the content of anxiety dreams is of- a 
sexual nature, the libido belonging to which content 
has been transformed into fear. 

i See Selected Papers on Hysteria and other Psychoneuroses, p. 133, 
translated by A. A. Brill, Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 
Monograph Series. 


THE more one is occupied with the solution of 
dreams, the more willing one must become to ac 
knowledge that the majority of the dreams of adults 
treat of sexual material and give expression to ero 
tic wishes. Only one who really analyzes dreams, 
that is to say, who pushes forward from their mani 
fest content to the latent dream thoughts, can form 
an opinion on this subject never the person who is 
.satisfied with registering the manifest content (as, 
for example, Nacke in his works on sexual dreams) . 
Let us recognize at once that this fact is not to be 
wondered at, but that it is in complete harmony 
with the fundamental assumptions of dream expla 
nation. No other impulse has had to undergo so 
much suppression from the time of childhood as the 
sex impulse in its numerous components, from no 
other impulse have survived so many and such in 
tense unconscious wishes, which now act in the 
sleeping state in such a manner as to produce 
dreams. In dream interpretation, this significance 
of sexual complexes must never be forgotten, nor 



must they, of course, be exaggerated to the point 
jof being considered exclusive. 

Of many dreams it can be ascertained by a care 
ful interpretation that they are even to be taken 
bisexually, inasmuch as they result in an irrefutable 
secondary interpretation in which they realize Jhom- 
osexiiaL-feelings that is, feelings that are common 
to the normal sexual activity of the dreaming per 
son. But that all dreams are to be interpreted 
bisexually, seems to me to be a generalization as in 
demonstrable as it is improbable, which J[ should 
not like to support. Above all I should not know 
how to dispose of the apparent fact that there are 
many dreams satisfying other than in the widest 
sense erotic needs, as dreams of hunger, thirst, 
convenience, &c. Likewise the similar assertions 
"that behind every dream one finds the death sen 
tence" (Stekel), and that every dream shows "a 
continuation from the feminine to the masculine 
line" (Adler), seem to me to proceed far beyond 
what is admissible in the interpretation of dreams. 

We have already asserted elsewhere that dreams 
which are conspicuously innocent invariably em 
body coarse erotic wishes, and we might confirm 
this by means of numerous fresh examples. But 
many dreams, which appear indifferent, and which 
would never be suspected of any particular signifi- 


cance, can be traeecLback, after analysis, t0.-iiDinis- 
takably sexual wish-feelings, which are often of an 
unexpected nature. For example, who would sus 
pect a sexual wish in the following dream until the 
interpretation had been worked out? The dreamer 
relates : Between two stately palaces stands a lit 
tle house., receding somewhat, whose doors are 
closed. My wife leads me a little way along the 
street up to the little house, and pushes in the door, 
and then I slip quicldy and easily into the interior 
of a courtyard that slants obliquely upwards. 

Any one who has had experience in the translat 
ing of dreams will, of course, immediately perceive 
that penetrating into narrow spaces, and opening 
locked doors, belong to the commonest sexual sym 
bolism, and will easily find in this dream a represen 
tation of attempted coition from behind (between 
the two stately buttocks of the female body) . The 
narrow slanting passage is of course the vagina; the 
assistance attributed to the wife of the dreamer re 
quires the interpretation that in reality it is only 
consideration for the wife which is responsible for 
the detention from such an attempt. Moreover, 
inquiry shows that on the previous day a young girl 
had entered the household of the dreamer who had 
pleased him, and who had given him the impression 
that she would not be altogether opposed to an ap- 


proacfa of this sort. The little house between the 
two palaces is taken from a reminiscence of the 
Hradschin in Prague, and thus points again to the 
girl who is a native of that city. 

If with my patients I emphasize the frequency 
of the Qedipus dream of having sexual intercourse 
with. one^.m.Qthr I get the answer: "I cannot, 
rernembcr snob g. dream. " Immediately after 
wards, however, there arises the recollection of an 
other disguised and indifferent dream, which has 
been dreamed repeatedly by the patient, and the an 
alysis shows it to be a dream of this same content- 
that is, another Oedipus dream. I can assure the 
reader that veiled dreams of sexual intercourse with 
the mother are a great deal more frequent than open 
ones, to the same ..effect* 

There are dreams about landscapes and localities 
in which emphasis is always laid upon the assurance: 
1 1 _lia.ve_ Jheen there before. In ihis_jcase the local 
ity, is always the genital organ othe-niatlier;lt can 
indeed be asserted with such certainty jodLna other 
locality thaL-one. "has been there before," 

A large number of dreams, often full of fear, 
which are concerned with passing through narrow 
spaces or with staying in the water, are_hased upon 
fancies about the embryonic life, about the sojourn 
in the mother s womb^ and about the net of birth. 


The following is the dream of a young man who in 
his fancy has already while in embryo taken ad 
vantage of his opportunity to spy upon an act of 
coition between his parents. 

f( He is in a deep shaft, in which there is a window, 
as in the Semmering Tunnel. At first he sees an 
empty landscape through this window, and then he 
composes a picture into it, which is immediately at 
hand and which fills out the empty space. The 
picture represents a field which is being thoroughly 
harrowed by an implement, and the delightful air, 
the accompanying idea of hard work, and the bluish- 
black clods of earth make a pleasant impression. 
He then goes on and sees a primary school opened 
. . . and he is surprised that so much attention is 
devoted in it to the sexual feelings of the child, 
which makes him think of me" 

Here is a pretty water-dream of a female patient, 
which was turned to extraordinary account in the 
course of treatment. 

At her summer resort at the . . . Lake, she hurls 
herself into the dark water at a place where the pale 
moon is reflected in the water. 

Dreams of this sort are parturition dreams ; their 
interpretation is accomplished by reversing the fact 
reported in the manifest dream content; thus, in 
stead of "throwing one s self into the water," read 


"coming out of the water," that is, "being born." 
The place from which one is born is recognized if 
one thinks of the bad sense of the French "la lune." 
The pale moon thus becomes the white "bottom" 
(Popo) , which the child soon recognizes as the place 
from which it came. Now what can be the mean 
ing of the patient s wishing to be born at her sum 
mer resort? I asked the dreamer this, and she an 
swered without hesitation: "Hasn t the treatment 
made me as though I were born again?" Thus the 
dream becomes an invitation to continue the cure 
at this summer resort, that is, to visit her there; 
perhaps it also contains a very bashful allusion to 
the wish to become a mother herself. 1 

Another dream of parturition, with its interpre 
tation, I take from the work of E. Jones. "She 
stood at the seashore watching a small boy, who 
seemed to be hers, wading into the water. This he 
did till the water covered him, and she could only 
see his head bobbing up and down near the surface. 
The scene then changed to the crowded hall of a 

i It is only of late that I have learned to value the significance of 
fancies and unconscious thoughts about life in the womb. They 
contain the explanation of the curious fear felt by so many people 
of being buried alive, as well as the profoundest unconscious reason 
for the belief in a life after death which represents nothing but a 
projection into the future of this mysterious life before birth. The 
act of birth, moreover, is the first experience with fear, and is thus 
the sowrce and model of the emotion of fear. 


hotel. Her husband left her, and she entered into 
conversation with a stranger" The second half 
of the dream was discovered in the analysis to repre 
sent a flight from her husband, and the entering 
into intimate relations with a third person, behind 
whom was plainly indicated Mr. X. s brother men 
tioned in a former dream. The first part of the 
dream was a fairly evident birth phantasy. In 
dreams as in mythology, the delivery of a child from 
the uterine waters is commonly presented by dis 
tortion as the entry of the child into water; among 
many others, the births of Adonis, Osiris, Moses, 
and Bacchus are well-known illustrations of this. 
The bobbing up and down of the head in the water 
at once recalled to the patient the sensation of quick 
ening she had experienced in her only pregnancy. 
Thinking of the boy going into the water induced 
a reverie in which she saw herself taking him out of 
the water, carrying him into the nursery, washing 
him and dressing him, and installing him in her 

The second half of the dream, therefore, repre 
sents thoughts concerning the elopement, which be 
longed to the first half of the underlying latent con 
tent; the first half of the dream corresponded with 
the second half of the latent content, the birth 
phantasy. Besides this inversion in order, further 


inversioi*s took place in each half of the dream. 
In the first half the child entered the water, and 
then his head bobbed; in the underlying dream 
thoughts first the quickening occurred, and then the 
child left the water (a double inversion). In the 
second half her husband left her; in the dream 
thoughts she left her husband. 

Another parturition dream is related by Abra 
ham of a young woman looking forward to her 
first confinement. From a place in the floor 
of the house a subterranean canal leads di 
rectly into the water (parturition path, amniotic 
liquor) . She lifts up a trap in the floor, and there 
immediately appears a creature dressed in a brown 
ish fur, which almost resembles a seal. This crea 
ture changes into the younger brother of the 
dreamer, to whom she has always stood in maternal 

Dreams of "saving" are connected with parturi 
tion dreams. To save, especially to save from the 
water, is equivalent to giving birth when dreamed 
by a woman; this sense is, however, modified when 
the dreamer is a man. 

Robbers, burglars at night, and ghosts, of which 
we are afraid before going to bed, and which oc 
casionally even disturb our sleep, originate in one 
and the same childish reminiscence. They are the 


nightly visitors who have awakened the child to set 
it on the chamber so that it may not wet the bed, or 
have lifted the cover in order to see clearly how the 
child is holding its hands while sleeping. I have 
been able to induce an exact recollection of the 
nocturnal visitor in the analysis of some of these 
anxiety dreams. The robbers were always the fa 
ther, the ghosts more probably corresponded to 
feminine persons with white night-gowns. 

When one has become familiar with the abun 
dant use of symbolism for the representation of 
sexual material in dreams, one naturally raises the 
question whether there are not many of these sym 
bols which appear once and for all with a firmly es 
tablished significance like the signs in stenography ; 
and one is tempted to compile a new dream-book 
according to the cipher method. In this connection 
it may be remarked that this symbolism does not 
belong peculiarly to the dream, but rather to. un 
conscious thinking, particularly that of the masses, 
and it is to be found in greater perfection in 
the .folklore, in the myths, legends, and man 
ners of speech, in the proverbial sayings, and in 
the current witticisms of a nation than in its 

The dream takes advantage of this symbolism in 
order to give a disguised representation to its latent^ 


thoughts. Among the symbols which are used in 
this manner there are of course many which regu 
larly, or almost regularly, mean tne 

Only it is necessary to keep in mind the curious 
plasticity of psychic material. Now and then a 
symbol in the dream content may have to be in 
terpreted not symbolically, but according to its real 
meaning; at another time the dreamer, owing to a 
peculiar set of recollections, may create for himself 
the right to use anything whatever as a sexual sym 
bol, though it is not ordinarily used in that way. 
Nor are the most frequently used sexual symbols 
unambiguous every time. 

After these limitations and reservations I may 
call attention to the following: .Emperor and Em 
press (King and Queen) in most cases really repre 
sent the parents of the dreamer; the dreamer him 
self or herself is the prince or princess. All elon 
gated objects, sticks, tree-trunks, and umbrellas 
(on account of the stretching-up which might be 
compared to an erection! all elongated and sharp 
weapons, knives, daggers, and pikes, are intended 
to represent the male member. A frequent, not 
very intelligible, symbol for the same is a nail-file 
(on account of the rubbing and scraping?) . Little 
cases, boxes, caskets, closets, and stoves correspond 
to the female part. The symbolism of lock and 


key has been very gracefully employed by Uhland 
in his song about the "Grafen Eberstein," to make 
a common smutty joke. The dream of walking 
through a row of rooms is a brothel or harem dream. 
Staircases, ladders, and flights of stairs, or climbing 
on these, either upwards or downwards, are sym 
bolic representations of the sexual act. Smooth 
walls over which one is climbing, fa9ades of houses 
upon which one is letting oneself down, frequently 
under great anxiety, correspond to the erect hu 
man body, and probably repeat in the dream remi 
niscences of the upward climbing of little children 
on their parents or foster parents. "Smooth" 
walls are men. Often in a dream of anxiety one 
is holding on firmly to some projection from a 
house. Tables, set tables, and boards are women, 
perhaps on account of the opposition which does 
away with the bodily contours. Since "bed and 
board" (mensa et thorns) constitute marriage, the 
former are often put for the latter in the dream, 
and as far as practicable the sexual presentation 
complex is transposed to the eating complex. Of 
articles of dress the woman s hat may frequently be 
definitely interpreted as the male genital. In 
dreams of men one often finds the cravat as a sym 
bol for the penis; this indeed is not only because 
cravats hang down long, and are characteristic of 


the man, but also because one can select them at 
pleasure, a freedom which is prohibited by nature 
in the original of the symbol. Persons who make 
use of this symbol in the dream are very extrava 
gant with cravats, and possess regular collections 
of them. All complicated machines and apparatus 
in dream are very probably genitals, in the descrip 
tion of which dream symbolism shows itself to be as 
tireless as the activity of wit. Likewise many land 
scapes in dreams, especially with bridges or with 
wooded mountains, can be readily recognized as 
descriptions of the genitals. Finally where one 
finds incomprehensible neologisms one may think 
of combinations made up of components having a 
sexual significance. Children also in the dream 
often signify the genitals, as men and women are 
in the habit of fondly referring to their genital 
organ as their "little one." As a very recent sym 
bol of the male genital may be mentioned the flying 
machine, utilization of which is justified by its re 
lation to flying as well as occasionally by its form. 
To play with a little child or to beat a little one is 
often the dream s representation of onanism. A 
number of other symbols, in part not sufficiently 
verified are given by Stekel, who illustrates them 
with examples. Right and left, according to him, 
are to be conceived in the dream in an ethical sense. 


"The right way always signifies the road to right 
eousness, the left the one to crime. Thus the left 
may signify homosexuality, incest, and perversion, 
while the right signifies marriage, relations with a 
prostitute, &c. The meaning is always determined 
by the individual moral view-point of the dreamer." 
Relatives in the dream generally play the role of 
genitals. Not to be able to catch up with a wagon 
is interpreted by Stekel as regret not to be able to 
come up to a difference in age. Baggage with 
which one travels is the burden of sin by which one 
is oppressed. Also numbers, which frequently 
occur in the dream, are assigned by Stekel a fixed 
symbolical meaning, but these interpretations seem 
neither sufficiently verified nor of general validity, 
although the interpretation in individual cases can 
generally be recognized as probable. In a recently 
published book by W. Stekel, Die Sprache des 
Traumes, which I was unable to utilize, there is a list 
of the most common sexual symbols, the object of 
which is to prove that all sexual symbols can be 
bisexually used. He states: "Is there a symbol 
which (if in any way permitted by the phantasy) 
may not be used simultaneously in the masculine 
and the feminine sense!" To be sure the clause in 
parentheses takes away much of the absoluteness 
of this assertion, for this is not at all permitted by 


the phantasy. I do not, however, think it super 
fluous to state that in my experience StekeFs gen 
eral statement has to give way to the recognition of 
a greater manifoldness. Besides those symbols, 
which are just as frequent for the male as for the 
female genitals, there are others which preponder- 
ately, or almost exclusively, designate one of the 
sexes, and there are still others of which only the 
male or only the female signification is known. To 
use long, firm objects and weapons as symbols of 
the female genitals, or hollow objects (chests, 
pouches, &c.), as symbols of the male genitals, is 
indeed not allowed by the fancy. 

It is true that the tendency of the dream and the 
unconscious fancy to utilize the sexual symbol 
bisexually betrays an archaic trend, for in child 
hood a difference in the genitals is unknown, and 
the same genitals are attributed to both sexes. 

These very incomplete suggestions may suffice 
to stimulate others to make a more careful collec 

I shall now add a few examples of the application 
of such symbolisms in dreams, which will serve to 
show r how impossible it becomes to interpret a 
dream without taking into account the symbolism 
of dreams, and how imperatively it obtrudes itself 
in many cases. 


1. The hat as a symbol of the man (of the male 
genital) : (a fragment from the dream of a young 
woman who suffered from agoraphobia on account 
of a fear of temptation) . 

"I am walking in the street in summer, I wear a 
straw hat of peculiar shape, the middle piece of 
which is bent upwards and the side pieces of which 
hang downwards (the description became here ob 
structed), and in such a fashion that one is lower 
than the other. I am cheerful and in a confidential 
mood, and as I pass a troop of young officers I 
think to myself: None of you can have any de 
signs upon me." 

As she could produce no associations to the hat, 
I said to her: "The hat is really a male genital, 
with its raised middle piece and the two downward 
hanging side pieces." I intentionally refrained 
from interpreting those details concerning the un 
equal downward hanging of the two side pieces, al 
though just such individualities in the determina 
tions lead the way to the interpretation. I 
continued by saying that if she only had a man with 
such a virile genital she would not have to fear the 
officers that is, she would have nothing to wish 
from them, for she is mainly kept from going with 
out protection and company by her fancies of temp 
tation. This last explanation of her fear I had al- 


ready been able to give her repeatedly on the basis 
of other material. 

It is quite remarkable how the dreamer behaved 
after this interpretation. She withdrew her de 
scription of the hat, and claimed not to have said 
that the two side pieces were hanging downwards. 
I was, however, too sure of what I had heard to 
allow myself to be misled, and I persisted in it. 
She was quiet for a while, and then found the cour 
age to ask why it was that one of her husband s 
testicles was lower than the other, and whether it 
was the same in all men. With this the peculiar 
detail of the hat was explained, and the whole in 
terpretation was accepted by her. The hat symbol 
was familiar to me long before the patient related 
this dream. From other but less transparent cases 
I believe that the hat may also be taken as a female 

2. The little one as the genital to be run over 
as a symbol of sexual intercourse (another dream 
of the same agoraphobic patient). 

"Her mother sends away her little daughter so 
that she must go alone. She rides with her mother 
to the railroad and sees her little one walking di 
rectly upon the tracks, so that she cannot avoid 
being run over. She hears the bones crackle. 
( From this she experiences a feeling of discomfort 


but no real horror.) She then looks out through 
the car window to see whether the parts cannot be 
seen behind. She then reproaches her mother for 
allowing the little one to go out alone." Analysis. 
It is not an easy matter to give here a complete in 
terpretation of the dream. It forms part of a cycle 
of dreams, and can be fully understood only in con 
nection with the others. For it is not easy to get 
the necessary material sufficiently isolated to prove 
the symbolism. The patient at first finds that the 
railroad journey is to be interpreted historically as 
an allusion to a departure from a sanatorium for 
nervous diseases, with the superintendent of which 
she naturally was in love. Her mother took her 
away from this place, and the physician came to the 
railroad station and handed her a bouquet of flow 
ers on leaving; she felt uncomfortable because her 
mother witnessed this homage. Here the mother, 
therefore, appears as- a disturber of her love affairs, 
which is the role actually played by this strict 
woman during her daughter s girlhood. The next 
thought referred to the sentence: "She then looks 
to see whether the parts can be seen behind." In 
the dream f aade one would naturally be compelled 
to think of the parts of the little daughter run over 
and ground up. The thought, however, turns in 
quite a different direction. She recalls that she 


once saw her father in the bath-room naked from 
behind; she then begins to talk about the sex differ 
entiation, and asserts that in the man the genitals 
can be seen from behind, but in the woman they can 
not. In this connection she now herself offers the 
interpretation that the little one is the genital, her 
little one (she has a four-year-old daughter) her 
own genital. She reproaches her mother for want 
ing her to live as though she had no genital, and 
recognizes this reproach in the introductory sen 
tence of the dream ; the mother sends away her lit 
tle one so that she must go alone. In her phantasy 
going alone on the street signifies to have no man 
and no sexual relations (coire = to go together), 
and this she does not like. According to all her 
statements she really suffered as a girl on account 
of the jealousy of her mother, because she showed 
a preference for her father. 

The "little one" has been noted as a symbol for 
the male or the female genitals by Stekel, who can 
refer in this connection to a very widespread usage 
of language. 

The deeper interpretation of this dream depends 
upon another dream of the same night in which the 
dreamer identifies herself with her brother. She 
was a "tomboy," and was always being told that she 
should have been born a boy. This identification 


with the brother shows with special clearness that 
"the little one" signifies the genital. The mother 
threatened him (her) with castration, which could 
only be understood as a punishment for playing 
with the parts, and the identification, therefore, 
shows that she herself had masturbated as a child, 
though this fact she now retained only in memory 
concerning her brother. An early knowledge of 
the male genital which she later lost she must have 
acquired at that time according to the assertions 
of this second dream. Moreover the second dream 
points to the infantile sexual theory that girls origi 
nate from boys through castration. After I had 
told her of this childish belief, she at once confirmed 
it with an anecdote in which the boy asks the girl : 
"Was it cut off?" to which the girl replied, "No, it s 
always been so." 

The sending away of the little one, of the genital, 
in the first dream therefore also refers to the threat 
ened castration. Finally she blames her mother 
for not having been born a boy. 

That "being run over" symbolizes sexual inter 
course would not be evident from this dream if we 
were not sure of it from many other sources. 

3. Representation of the genital by structures, 
stairways, and shafts. (Dream of a young man in 
hibited by a father complex.) 


"He is taking a walk with his father in a place 
which is surely the Prater, for the Rotunda may 
be seen in front of which there is a small front struc 
ture to which is attached a captive balloon; the 
balloon, however, seems quite collapsed. His fa 
ther asks him what this is all for; he is surprised at 
it, but he explains it to his father. They come into 
a court in which lies a large sheet of tin. His fa 
ther wants to pull off a big piece of this, but first 
looks around to see if any one is watching. He 
tells his father that all he needs to do is to speak 
to the watchman, and then he can take without any 
further difficulty as much as he wants to. From 
this court a stairway leads down into a shaft, the 
walls of which are softly upholstered something like 
a leather pocketbook. At the end of this shaft 
there is a longer platform, and then a new shaft be 
gins. . . ." 

Analysis. This dream belongs to a type of pa 
tient which is not favorable from a therapeutic 
point of view. They follow in the analysis with 
out offering any resistances whatever up to a certain 
point, but from that point on they reman almost in 
accessible. This dream he almost analyzed him 
self. "The Rotunda," he said, "is my genital, the 
captive balloon in front is my penis, about the weak 
ness of which I have worried. We must, however, 


interpret in greater detail; the Rotunda is the but 
tock which is regularly associated by the child with 
the genital, the smaller front structure is the 
scrotum. In the dream his father asks him what 
this is all for that is, he asks him about the pur 
pose and arrangement of the genitals. It is quite 
evident that this state of affairs should be turned 
around, and that he should be the questioner. As 
such a questioning on the side of the father has 
never taken place in reality, we must conceive the 
dream thought as a wish, or take it conditionally, 
as follows: "If I had only asked my father for 
sexual enlightenment." The continuation of this 
thought we shall soon find in another place. 

The court in which the tin sheet is spread out is 
not to be conceived symbolically in the first instance, 
but originates from his father s place of business. 
For discretionary reasons I have inserted the tin 
for another material in which the father deals, with 
out, however, changing anything in the verbal ex 
pression of the dream. The dreamer had entered 
his father s business, and had taken a terrible dislike 
to the questionable practices upon which profit 
mainly depends. Hence the continuation of the 
above dream thought ("if I had only asked him") 
would be: "He would have deceived me just as 
he does his customers." For the pulling off, which 


serves to represent commercial dishonesty, the 
dreamer himself gives a second explanation 
namely, onanism. This is not only entirely fa 
miliar to us, but agrees very well with the fact 
that the secrecy of onanism is expressed by its 
opposite ("Why one can do it quite openly"). It, 
moreover, agrees entirely with our expectations that 
the onanistic activity is again put off on the father, 
just as was the questioning in the first scene of 
the dream. The shaft he at once interprets as the 
vagina by referring to the soft upholstering of the 
walls. That the act of coition in the vagina is de 
scribed as a going down instead of in the usual way 
as a going up, I have also found true in other in 
stances. 1 

The details that at the end of the first shaft there 
is a longer platform and then a new shaft, he him 
self explains biographically. He had for some 
time consorted with women sexually, but had then 
given it up because of inhibitions and now hopes 
to be able to take it up again with the aid of the 
treatment. The dream, however, becomes indis 
tinct toward the end, and to the experienced in 
terpreter it becomes evident that in the second scene 
of the dream the influence of another subject has 
begun to assert itself; in this his father s business 

i Cf. Zentralblatt fiir psychoanalyse, I. 


and his dishonest practices signify the first vagina 
represented as a shaft so that one might think of 
a reference to the mother. 

4. The male genital symbolized by persons and 
the female by a landscape. 

(Dream of a woman of the lower class, whose 
husband is a policeman, reported by B. Dattner.) 

. . . Then some one broke into the house and 
anxiously called for a policeman. But he went 
with two tramps by mutual consent into a church, 1 
to which led a great many stairs ; 2 behind the 
church there was a mountain, 3 on top of which a 
dense forest. 4 The policeman was furnished with 
a helmet, a gorget, and a cloak. 5 The two vag 
rants, who went along with the policeman quite 
peaceably, had tied to their loins sack-like aprons. 6 
A road led from the church to the mountain. This 
road was overgrown on each side with grass and 
brushwood, which became thicker and thicker as it 
reached the height of the mountain, where it spread 
out into quite a forest. 

5. A stairway dream. 

(Reported and interpreted by Otto Rank.) 

1 Or chapel vagina* 

2 Symbol of coitus. 3 Mons veneris. 4 Crines pubis. 
s Demons in cloaks and capucines are, according to the explanation 

of a man versed in the subject, of a phallic nature, 
two halves of the scrotum. 


For the following transparent pollution dream, 
I am indebted to the same colleague who furnished 
us with the dental-irritation dream. 

"I am running down the stairway in the stair- 
house after a little girl, whom I wish to punish be 
cause she has done something to me. At the bot 
tom of the stairs some one held the child for me. 
(A grown-up woman?) I grasp it, but do not 
know whether I have hit it, for I suddenly find 
myself in the middle of the stairway where I prac 
tice coitus with the child (in the air as it were) . It 
is really no coitus, I only rub my genital on her 
external genital, and in doing this I see it very dis 
tinctly, as distinctly as I see her head which is lying 
sideways. During the sexual act I see hanging 
to the left and above me (also as if in the air) two 
small pictures, landscapes, representing a house on 
a green. On the smaller one my surname stood in 
the place where the painter s signature should be; 
it seemed to be intended for my birthday present. 
A small sign hung in front of the pictures to the 
effect that cheaper pictures could also be obtained. 
I then see myself very indistinctly lying in bed, just 
as I had seen myself at the foot of the stairs, and 
I am awakened by a feeling of dampness which 
came from the pollution." 

Interpretation. The dreamer had been in a 


book-store on the evening of the day of the dream, 
where, while he was waiting, he examined some pic 
tures which were exhibited, which represented mo 
tives similar to the dream pictures. He stepped 
nearer to a small picture which particularly took 
his fancy in order to see the name of the artist, 
which, however, was quite unknown to him. 

Later in the same evening, in company, he heard 
about a Bohemian servant-girl who boasted that 
her illegitimate child "was made on the stairs." 
The dreamer inquired about the details of this un 
usual occurrence, and learned that the servant -girl 
went with her lover to the home of her parents, 
where there was no opportunity for sexual rela 
tions, and that the excited man performed the act 
on the stairs. In witty allusion to the mischievous 
expression used about wine-adulterers, the dreamer 
remarked, "The child really grew on the cellar 

These experiences of the day, which are quite 
prominent in the dream content, were readily re 
produced by the dreamer. But he just as readily 
reproduced an old fragment of infantile recollection 
which was also utilized by the dream. The stair- 
house was the house in which he had spent the 
greatest part of his childhood, and in which he had 
first become acquainted with sexual problems. In 


this house he used, among other things, to slide 
down the banister astride which caused him to be 
come sexually excited. In the dream he also comes 
down the stairs very rapidly so rapidly that, ac 
cording to his own distinct assertions, he hardly 
touched the individual stairs, but rather "flew" or 
"slid down," as we used to say. Upon reference to 
this infantile experience, the beginning of the dream 
seems to represent the factor of sexual excitement. 
In the same house and in the adjacent residence 
the dreamer used to play pugnacious games with 
the neighboring children, in which he satisfied him 
self just as he did in the dream. 

If one recalls from Freud s investigation of sex 
ual symbolism 1 that in the dream stairs or climbing 
stairs almost regularly symbolizes coitus, the dream 
becomes clear. Its motive power as well as its ef 
fect, as is shown by the pollution, is of a purely 
libidinous nature. Sexual excitement became 
aroused during the sleeping state (in the dream 
this is represented by the rapid running or sliding 
down the stairs) and the sadistic thread in this is, 
on the basis of the pugnacious playing, indicated in 
the pursuing and overcoming of the child. The 
libidinous excitement becomes enhanced and urges 
to sexual action (represented in the dream .by the 

i See Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, vol. i., p. 2. 


grasping of the child and the conveyance of it to the 
middle of the stairway). Up to this point the 
dream would be one of pure, sexual symbolism, and 
obscure for the unpracticed dream interpreter. 
But this symbolic gratification, which would have 
insured undisturbed sleep, was not sufficient for 
the powerful libidinous excitement. The excite 
ment leads to an orgasm, and thus the whole stair 
way symbolism is unmasked as a substitute for 
coitus. Freud lays stress on the rhythmical char 
acter of both actions as one of the reasons for the 
sexual utilization of the stairway symbolism, and 
this dream especially seems to corroborate this, for, 
according to the express assertion of the dreamer, 
the rhythm of a sexual act was- the most pronounced 
feature in the whole dream. 

Still another remark concerning the two pic 
tures, which, aside from their- real significance, also 
have the value of "Weibsbilder" (literally woman- 
pictures , but idiomatically women) . This is at 
once shown by the fact that the dream deals with 
a big and a little picture, just as the dream content 
presents a big (grown up) and a little girl. That 
cheap pictures could also be obtained points to the 
prostitution complex, just as the dreamer s sur 
name on the little picture and the thought that it 
was intended for his birthday, point to the parent 


complex (to be born on the stairway to be con 
ceived in coitus). 

The indistinct final scene, in which the dreamer 
sees himself on the staircase landing lying in bed 
and feeling wet, seems to go back into childhood 
even beyond the infantile onanism, and manifestly 
has its prototype in similarly pleasurable* scenes of 

6. A modified stair-dream. 

To one of my very nervous patients, who was an 
abstainer, whose fancy was fixed on his mother, 
and who repeatedly dreamed of climbing stairs ac 
companied by his mother, I once remarked that 
moderate masturbation would be less harmful to 
him than enforced abstinence. This influence pro 
voked the following dream : 

"His- piano teacher reproaches him for neglect 
ing his piano-playing, and for not practicing the 
Etudes of Moscheles and dementi s Gradus ad 
Parnassum" In .relation to this he remarked that 
the Gradus is only a stairway, and that the piano 
itself -is only a stairway as it has a scale. 

It is correct to say that there is no series of as 
sociations which cannot be adapted to the repre 
sentation of sexual facts. I conclude with the 
dream of a chemist, a young man, who has been 


trying to giv<e up his habit of masturbation by re 
placing it with intercourse with women. 

Preliminary statement. On the day before the 
dream he had given a student instruction concern 
ing Grigriard s reaction, in which magnesium is to 
be dissolved in absolutely pure ether under the cat 
alytic influence of iodine. Two days before, there 
had been an explosion in the course of the same re 
action, in which the investigator had burned his 

Dream I. He is to make phenylmagnesium- 
bromid; he sees the apparatus with particular clear 
ness,, but he has substituted himself for the mag 
nesium. He is now in a curious swaying attitude. 
He keeps repeating to himself, "This is the right 
thing, it is working, my feet are beginning to dis 
solve and my knees are getting soft. Then he 
reaches down and feels for his feet, and meanwhile 
(he does not know how) he takes his legs out of the 
crucible, and then again he says to himself, "That 
cannot be. . . . Yes, it must be so, it has been done 
correctly/ Then he partially awakens, and re 
peats the dream to himself, because he wants to tell 
it to me. He is distinctly afraid of the analysis 
of the dream. He is much excited during this 
semi-sleeping state, and repeats continually, 
f( Phenyl, phenyl! 3 


II. He is in . . . ing with his whole family; at 
half-past eleven. He is to be at the Schottenthor 
for a rendezvous with a certain lady, but he does not 
wake up until half -past eleven. He says to him 
self, "It is too late now; when you- get there it will 
be half -past twelve" The next instant he sees the 
whole family gathered about the table his mother 
and the servant girl with the soup-tureen with par 
ticular clearness. Then he says to himself, "Well, 
if we are eating already, I certainly can t get 

Analysis: He feels sure that even the first 
dream contains a reference to the lady whom he is 
to meet at the rendezvous (the dream was dreamed 
during the night before the expected meeting) . 
The student to whom he gave the instruction is a 
particularly unpleasant fellow; he had said to the 
chemist: "That isn t right," because the magnes 
ium was still unaffected, and the latter answered as 
though he did not care anything about it: "It cer 
tainly isn t right." He himself must be this stu 
dent; he is as indifferent towards his analysis as 
the student is towards his synthesis; the He in the 
dream, however, who accomplishes the operation, 
is myself. How unpleasant he must seem to me 
with his indifference towards the success achieved! 

Moreover, he is the material with which the an- 


alysis (synthesis) is made. For it is a question of 
the success of the treatment. The legs in the 
dream recall an impression of the previous evening. 
He met a lady at a dancing lesson whom he wished 
to conquer; he pressed her to him so closely that 
she once cried out. After he had stopped pressing 
against her legs, he felt her firm responding pres 
sure against his lower thighs as far as just above 
his knees, at the place mentioned in the dream. In 
this situation, then, the woman is the magnesium in 
the retort, which is at last working. He is femi 
nine towards me, as he is masculine towards the 
woman. If it will work with the woman, the treat 
ment will also work. Feeling and becoming aware 
of himself in the region of his knees refers to mas 
turbation, and corresponds to his fatigue of the 
previous day. . . . The rendezvous had actually 
been set for half -past eleven. His wish to over 
sleep and to remain with his usual sexual objects 
(that is, with masturbation) corresponds with his 



THAT the dream should be nothing but a wish-ful 
fillment surely seemed strange to us all and that 
not alone because of the contradictions offered by 
the anxiety dream. 

After learning from the first analytical explana 
tions that the dream conceals sense and psychic 
validity, we could hardly expect so simple a de 
termination of this sense. According to the correct 
but concise definition of Aristotle, the dream is a 
continuation of thinking in sleep (in so far as one 
sleeps) . Considering that during the day our 
thoughts produce such a diversity of psychic acts 
judgments, conclusions, contradictions, expecta 
tions, intentions, &c. why should our sleeping 
thoughts be forced to confine themselves to the pro 
duction of wishes? Are there not, on the contrary, 
many dreams that present a different psychic act 
in dream form, e.g., a solicitude, and is not the very 
transparent father s dream mentioned above of 
just such a nature? From the gleam of light fall 
ing into his eyes while asleep the father draws the 



solicitous conclusion that a candle has been upset 
and may have set fire to the corpse; he transforms 
this conclusion into a dream by investing it with a 
senseful situation enacted in the present tense. 
What part is played in this dream by the wish- 
fulfillment, and which are we to suspect the pre 
dominance of the thought continued from, the wak 
ing state or of the thought incited by the new sen 
sory impression? 

All these considerations are just, and force us to 
enter more deeply into the part played by the wish- 
fulfillment in the dream, and into the significance 
of the waking thoughts continued in sleep. 

It is in fact the wish-fulfillment that has already 
induced us to separate dreams into two groups. 
We have found some dreams that were plainly 
wish-fulfillments; and others in which wish-fulfill 
ment -could not be recognised, and was frequently 
concealed by every available means. In this latter 
class of dreamjs we recognized the influence of the 
dream censor. The undisguised wish dreams were 
chiefly found in children, yet fleeting open-hearted 
wish dreams seemed (I purposely emphasize this 
word) to occur also in adults. 

We may now ask whence the wish fulfilled in the 
dream originates. But to what opposition or to 
what diversitv do we refer this "whence"? I think 


it is to the opposition between conscious daily life 
and a psychic activity remaining unconscious which 
can only make itself noticeable during the night. 
I thus find a threefold possibility for the origin of 
a wish. Firstly, it may have been incited during 
the day, and owing to external circumstances failed 
to find gratification, there is thus left for the night 
an acknowledged but unfulfilled wish. Secondly, 
it may come to the surface during the day but be 
rejected, leaving an unfulfilled but suppressed 
wish. Or, thirdly, it may have no relation to daily 
life, and belong to those wishes that originate dur 
ing the night from the suppression. If we now 
follow our scheme of the psychic apparatus, we can 
localize a wish of the first order in the system Forec. 
We may assume that a wish of the second order 
has been forced back from the Forec. system into 
the Unc. system, where alone, if anywhere, it can 
maintain itself; while a wish-feeling of the third \ 
order we consider altogether incapable of leaving 
the Unc. system. This brings up the question 
whether wishes arising from these different sources 
possess the same value for the dream, and whether 
they have the same power to incite a dream. 

On reviewing the dreams which we have at our 
disposal for answering this question, we are at once 
moved to add as a fourth source of the dream-wish 


the actual wish incitements arising during the night, 
such as thirst and sexual desire. It then becomes 
evident that the source of the dream- wish does not 
affect its capacity to incite a dream. That a wish 
suppressed during the day asserts itself in the 
dream can be shown by a great many examples, I 
shall mention a very simple example of this class. 
A somewhat sarcastic young lady, whose younger 
friend has become engaged to be married, is asked 
throughout the day by her acquaintances whether 
she knows and what she thinks of the fiance. She 
answers with unqualified praise, thereby silencing 
her own judgment, as she would prefer to tell the 
truth, namely, that he is an ordinary person. The 
following night she dreams that the same question 
is put to her, and that she replies with the formula : 
"In case of subsequent orders it will suffice to men 
tion the number." Finally, we have learned from 
numerous analyses that the wish in all dreams that 
have been subject to distortion has been derived 
from the unconscious, and has been unable to come 
to perception in the waking state. Thus it would 
appear that all wishes are of the same value and 
force for the dream formation. 

I am at present unable to prove that the state 
of affairs is really different, but I am strongly in 
clined to assume a more stringent determination of 


the dream- wish. Children s dreams leave no doubt 
that an unfulfilled wish of the day may be the in 
stigator of the dream. But we must not forget 
that it is, after all, the wish of a child, that it is a 
wish-feeling of infantile strength only. I have a 
strong doubt whether an unfulfilled wish from the 
day would suffice to create a dream in an adult. 
It would rather seem that as we learn to control our 
impulses by intellectual activity, we more and more 
reject as vain the formation or retention of such 
intense wishes as are natural to childhood. In this, 
indeed, there may be individual variations ; some re 
tain the infantile type of psychic processes longer 
than others. The differences are here the same as 
those found in the gradual decline of the originally 
distinct visual imagination. 

In general, however, I am of the opinion that 
unfulfilled wishes of the day are insufficient to pro 
duce a dream in adults. I readily admit that the 
wish instigators originating in conscious like con 
tribute towards the incitement of dreams, but that 
is probably all. The dream would not originate 
if the foreconscious wish were not reinforced from 
another source. 

That source is the unconscious. I believe that 
the conscious wish is a dream inciter only if it suc 
ceeds in arousing a similar unconscious wish which 


reinforces it. Following the suggestions obtained 
through the psychoanalysis of the neuroses, I be 
lieve that these unconscious wishes are always ac 
tive and ready for expression whenever they find 
an opportunity to unite themselves with an emo 
tion from conscious life, and that they transfer their 
greater intensity to the lesser intensity of the lat 
ter. 1 It may therefore seem that the conscious 
wish alone has been realized in a dream ; but a slight 
peculiarity in the formation of this dream will put 
us on the track of the powerful helper from the un 
conscious. These ever active and, as it were, im 
mortal wishes from the unconscious recall the legend 
ary Titans who from time immemorial have borne 
the ponderous mountains which were once rolled 
upon them by the victorious gods, and which even 
now quiver from time to time from the convulsions 
of their mighty limbs ; I say that these wishes found 
in the repression are of themselves of an infantile 
origin, as we have learned from the psychological 

i They share this character of indestructibility with all psychic acts 
that are really unconscious that is, with psychic acts belonging to the 
system of the unconscious only. These paths are constantly open and 
never fall into disuse ; they conduct the discharge of the exciting proc 
ess as often as it becomes endowed with unconscious excitement. To 
speak metaphorically they suffer the same form of annihilation as the 
shades of the lower region in the Odyssey, who awoke to new life the 
moment they drank blood. The processes depending on the forecon- 
scious system are destructible in a different way. The psychotherapy 
of the neuroses is based on this difference. 


investigation of the neuroses. I should like, there 
fore, to withdraw the opinion previously expressed 
that it is unimportant whence the dream- wish or 
iginates, and replace it by another, as follows : The 
wish manifested in the dream must be an infantile 
one. In the adult it originates in the Unc., while 
in the child, where no separation and cesor as yet 
exist between Force, and Unc., or where these are 
only in the process of formation, it is an unfulfilled 
and unrepressed wish from the waking state. I 
am aware that this conception cannot be generally 
demonstrated, but I maintain nevertheless that it 
can be frequently demonstrated, even when it was 
not suspected, and that it cannot be generally re 

The wish-feelings which remain from the con 
scious waking state are, therefore, relegated to the 
background in the dream formation. In the dream 
content I shall attribute to them only the part -at 
tributed to the material of actual sensations during 
sleep. If I now take into account those other 
psychic instigations remaining from the waking 
state which are not wishes, I shall only ad 
here to the line mapped out for me by this train of 
thought. We may succeed in provisionally termi 
nating the sum of energy of our waking thoughts 
by deciding to go to sleep. He is a good sleeper 


who can do this; Napoleon I. is reputed to have 
been a model of this sort. But we do not always 
succeed in accomplishing it, or in accomplishing it 
perfectly. Unsolved problems, harassing cares, 
overwhelming impressions continue the thinking ac 
tivity even during sleep, maintaining psychic pro 
cesses in the system which we have termed the fore- 
conscious. These mental processes continuing into 
sleep may be divided into the following groups: 
1, That which has not been terminated during the 
day owing to casual prevention; 2, that which has 
been left unfinished by temporary paralysis of our 
mental power, i.e. the unsolved; 3, that which has 
been rejected and suppressed during the day. This 
unites with a powerful group (4) formed by that 
which has been excited in our Unc. during the day 
by. the work of the foreconscious. Finally, w r e may 
add group, (5) consisting of the indifferent and 
hence unsettled impressions of the day. 

We should not underrate the psychic intensities 
introduced into sleep by these remnants of waking 
life, especially those emanating from the group of 
the unsolved. These excitations surely continue 
to strive for expression during the night, and we 
may assume Avith equal certainty that the sleeping 
state renders impossible the usual continuation of 
the excitement in the foreconscious and the termina- 


t?on of the excitement by its. becoming conscious. 
As far as we can normally become conscious of our 
mental processes, even during the night, in so far 
we are not asleep. I shall not venture to state 
what change is produced in the Forec. system by 
the sleeping state, but there is no doubt that the 
psychological character of sleep is essentially due 
to the change of energy in this very system, which 
also dominates the approach to motility, which is 
paralyzed during sleep. In contradistinction to 
this, there seems to be nothing in the psychology of 
the -dream to warrant the assumption that -sleep 
produces any but secondary changes in the condi 
tions of the Unc. system. Hence, for the noctur 
nal excitation in the Forec. there remains no other 
path than that followed by the wish excitements 
from the Unc. This excitation must seek rein 
forcement from the Unc., and follow the detours 
of the unconscious excitations, But what is the 
relation of the foreoonscious day remnants to the 
dream? There is no doubt that they penetrate 
abundantly into the dream, that they utilize the 
dream content to obtrude themselves upon con 
sciousness even during the night; indeed, they oc 
casionally even dominate the dream content, and 
impel it to continue the work of the day; it is also 
certain that the day remnants may just as well 


have any other character as that of wishes ; but it is 
highly instructive and even decisive for the theory 
of wish-fulfillment to see what conditions they must 
comply with in order to be received into the dream. 
Let us pick out one of the dreams cited above as 
examples, e.g., the dream in which my friend Otto 
seems to show, the symptoms of Basedow s disease. 
My friend Otto s appearance occasioned me some 
concern during the day, and this worry, like 
everything else referring to this person, affected 
me. I may also assume that these feelings fol 
lowed me into sleep. I was probably bent on 
finding out what was the matter with him. 
In the night my worry found expression in the 
dream which I have reported, the content of which 
was not .only senseless, but failed to show any wish- 
fulfillment. But I began to investigate for the 
source of this incongruous expression of the solici 
tude felt during the day, and analysis revealed the 
connection. I identified my friend Otto with a cer 
tain Baron L. and myself with a Professor R. 
There was only one explanation for my being im 
pelled to select just this substitution for the day 
thought. I must have always been prepared in the 
Unc. to identify myself with Professor R., as it 
meant the realization of one of the immortal in 
fantile wishes, viz. that of becoming great. Re- 


pulsive ideas respecting my friend, that would cer 
tainly have been repudiated in a waking state, took 
advantage of the opportunity to creep into the 
dream, but the worry of the day likewise found 
some form of expression through a substitution in 
the dream content. The day thought, which was 
no wish in itself but rather a worry, had in some 
way to find a connection with the infantile now un 
conscious and suppressed wish, which then allowed 
it, though already properly prepared, to "origi 
nate" for consciousness. The more dominating 
this worry, the stronger must be the connection to 
be established ; between the contents of the wish and 
that of the worry there need be no connection, nor 
was there one in any of our examples. 

We can now sharply define the significance of 
the unconscious wish for the dream. It may be 
admitted that there is a whole class of dreams in 
which the incitement originates preponderatingly 
or even exclusively from the remnants of daily life ; 
and I believe that even my cherished desire to be 
come at some future time a "professor extraordin- 
arius" would have allowed me to slumber undis 
turbed that night had not my worry about my 
friend s health been still active. But this worry 
alone would not have produced a dream ; the motive 
power needed by the dream had .to be contributed 


by a wish, and it was the affair of the worriment to 
procure for itself such wish as a motive power of 
the dream. To speak figuratively, it is quite pos 
sible that a day thought plays the part of the con 
tractor (entrepreneur] in the dream. But it is 
known that no matter what idea the contractor may 
have in mind, and how desirous he may be of put 
ting it into operation, he can do nothing without 
capital ; he must depend upon a capitalist to defray 
the necessary expenses, and this capitalist, who sup 
plies the psychic expenditure for the dream is in 
variably and indisputably a wish from the uncon 
scious, no matter what the nature of the waking 
thought may be. 

In other cases the capitalist himself is the con 
tractor for the dream; this, indeed, seems to be the 
more usual case. An unconscious wish is produced 
by the day s work, which in turn creates the dream. 
The dream processes, moreover, run parallel with 
all the other possibilities of the economic relation 
ship used here as an illustration. Thus, the entre 
preneur may contribute some capital himself, or 
several entrepreneurs may seek the aid of the same 
capitalist, or several capitalists may jointly supply 
the capital required by the entrepreneur. Thus 
there are dreams produced by more than one dream- 
wish, and many similar variations which may 


readily be passed over and are of no further interest 
to us. What we have left unfinished in this discus 
sion of the dream-wish we shall be able to develop 

The "tertium comparationis" in the comparisons 
just employed i.e. the sum placed at our free dis 
posal in proper allotment admits of still finer ap 
plication for the illustration of the dream structure. 
We can recognize in most dreams a center especially 
supplied with perceptible intensity. This is regu 
larly the direct representation of the wish-fulfill 
ment; for, if we undo the displacements of the 
dream-work by a process of retrogression, we find 
that the psychic intensity of the elements in the 
dream thoughts is replaced by the perceptible in 
tensity of the elements in the dream content. 
The elements adjoining the wish-fulfillment have 
frequently nothing to do with its sense, but prove 
to be descendants of painful thoughts which op 
pose the wish. But, owing to their frequently 
artificial connection with the central element, 
they have acquired sufficient intensity to enable 
them to come to expression. Thus, the force 
of expression of the wish-fulfillment is dif 
fused over a certain sphere of association, within 
which it raises to expression all elements, including 
those that are in themselves impotent. In dreams 


having several strong wishes we can readily sepa 
rate from one another the spheres of the individual 
wish-f ulilments ; the gaps in the dream likewise 
can often be explained as boundary zones. 

Although the foregoing remarks have consider 
ably limited the significance of the day remnants 
for the dream, it will nevertheless be worth our 
while to give them some attention. For they must 
be a necessary ingredient in the formation of the 
dream, inasmuch as experience reveals the surpris 
ing fact that every dream shows in its content a 
connection with some impression of a recent day, 
often of the most indifferent kind. So far we have 
failed to see any necessity for this addition to the 
dream mixture. This necessity appears only when 
we follow closely the part played by the uncon 
scious wish, and then seek information in the 
psychology of the neuroses. We thus learn that 
the unconscious idea, as such, is altogether incapa 
ble of entering into the foreconscious, and that it 
can exert an influence there only by uniting with a 
harmless idea already belonging to the forecon 
scious, to which it transfers its intensity and under 
which it allows itself to be concealed. This is the 
fact of transference which furnishes an explana 
tion for so many surprising occurrences in the 
psychic life of neurotics. 


The idea from the foreconseious which thus ob 
tains an unmerited abundance of intensity may be 
left unchanged by the transference, or it may have 
forced upon it a modification from the content of 
the transferring idea. I trust the reader will par 
don my fondness for comparisons from daily life, 
but I feel tempted to say that the relations existing 
for the repressed idea are similar to the situations 
existing in Austria for the American dentist, who 
is forbidden to practise unless he gets permission 
from a regular physician to use his name on the 
public signboard and thus cover the legal require 
ments. Moreover, just as it is naturally not the 
busiest physicians who form such alliances with 
dental practitioners, so in the psychic life only such 
foreconscious or conscious ideas are chosen to cover 
a repressed idea as have not themselves attracted 
much of the attention which is operative in the fore- 
conscious. The unconscious entangles with its con 
nections preferentially either those impressions and 
ideas of the foreconscious which have been left un 
noticed as indifferent, or those that have soon been 
deprived of this attention through rejection. It is 
a familiar fact from the association studies con 
firmed by every experience, that ideas which have 
formed intimate connections in one direction as 
sume an almost negative attitude to whole groups 


of new connections. I once tried from this prin 
ciple to develop a theory for hysterical paralysis. 

If we assume that the same need for the transfer 
ence of the repressed ideas which we have learned 
to know from the analysis of the neuroses makes 
its influence felt in the dream as well, we can at once 
explain two riddles of the dream, viz. that every 
dream analysis shows an interweaving of a recent 
impression, and that this recent element is fre 
quently of the most indifferent character. We 
may add what we have already learned elsewhere, 
that these recent and indifferent elements come so 
frequently into the dream content as a substitute 
for the most deep-lying of the dream thoughts, for 
the further reason that they have least to fear from 
the resisting censor. But while this freedom from 
censorship explains only the preference for trivial 
elements, the constant presence of recent elements 
points to the fact that there is a need for transfer 
ence. Both groups of impressions satisfy the de 
mand of the repression for material still free from 
associations, the indifferent ones because they have 
offered no inducement for extensive associations, 
and the recent ones because they have had insuffi 
cient time to form such associations. 

We thus see that the day remnants, among which 
we may now include the indifferent impressions 


when they participate in the dream formation, not 
only borrow from the Unc. the motive power at the 
disposal of the repressed wish, but also offer to the 
unconscious something indispensable, namely, the 
attachment necessary to the transference. If we 
here attempted to penetrate more deeply into the 
psychic processes, we should first have to throw 
more light on the play of emotions between the 
foreconscious and the unconscious, to which, in 
deed, we are urged by the study of the psycho- 
neuroses, whereas the dream itself offers no assist 
ance in this respect. 

Just one further remark about the day remnants. 
There is no doubt that they are the actual disturbers 
of sleep, and not the dream, which, on the contrary, 
strives to guard sleep. But we shall return to this 
point later. 

We have so far discussed the dream-wish, we 
have traced it to the sphere of the Unc., and an 
alyzed its relations to the day remnants, which in 
turn may be either wishes, psychic emotions of any 
other kind, or simply recent impressions. We have 
thus made room for any claims that may be made 
for the importance of conscious thought activity in 
dream formations in all its variations. Relying 
upon our thought series, it would not be at all im 
possible for us to explain even those extreme cases 


in which the dream as a continuer of the day work 
brings to a happy conclusion and unsolved prob 
lem of the waking state. We do not, however, 
possess an example, the analysis of which might re 
veal the infantile or repressed wish source furnish 
ing such alliance and successful strengthening of 
the efforts of the foreconscious activity. But we 
have not come one step nearer a solution of the 
riddle : Why can the unconscious furnish the mo 
tive power for the wish-fulfillment only during 
sleep? The answer to this question must throw 
light on the psychic nature of wishes; and it will 
be given with the aid of the diagram of the psychic 

We do not doubt that even this apparatus at 
tained its present perfection through a long course 
of development. Let us attempt to restore it as 
it existed in an early phase of its activity. From 
assumptions, to be confirmed elsewhere, we know 
that at first the apparatus strove to keep as free 
from excitement as possible, and in its first forma 
tion, therefore, the scheme took the form of a re 
flex apparatus, which enabled it promptly to dis 
charge through the motor tracts any sensible 
stimulus reaching it from without. But this simple 
function was disturbed by the wants of life, which 
likewise furnish the impulse for the further de- 


velopment of the apparatus. The wants of life 
first manifested themselves to it in the form of the 
great physical needs. The excitement aroused by 
the inner want seeks an outlet in motility, which 
may be designated as "inner changes" or as an "ex 
pression of the emotions." The hungry child cries 
or fidgets helplessly, but its situation remains un 
changed; for the excitation proceeding from an in 
ner want requires, not a momentary outbreak, but 
a force working continuously. A change can oc 
cur only if in some way a feeling of gratification 
is experienced which in the case of the child must 
be through outside help in order to remove the 
inner excitement. An essential constituent of this 
experience is the appearance of a certain perception 
(of food in our example), the memory picture of 
which thereafter remains associated with the mem 
ory trace of the excitation of want. 

Thanks to the established connection, there re 
sults at the next appearance of this want a psychic 
feeling which revives the memory picture of the 
former perception, and thus recalls the former per 
ception itself, i.e. it actually re-establishes the situa 
tion of the first gratification. We call such a feel 
ing a wish; the reappearance of the perception 
constitutes the wish-fulfillment, and the full revival 
of the perception by the want excitement consti- 


tutes the shortest road to the wish-fulfillment. We 
may assume a primitive condition of the psychic 
apparatus in which this road is really followed, i.e. 
where the wishing merges into an hallucination. 
This first psychic activity therefore aims at an 
identity of perception, i.e. it aims at a repetition of 
that perception which is connected with the fulfill 
ment of the want. 

This primitive mental activity must have been 
modified by bitter practical experience into a more 
expedient secondary activity. The establishment 
of the identity perception on the short regressive 
road within the apparatus does not in another re 
spect carry with it the result which inevitably fol 
lows the revival of the same perception from with 
out. The gratification does not take place, and the 
want continues. In order to equalize the internal 
with the external sum of energy, the former must 
be continually maintained, just as actually hap 
pens in the hallucinatory psychoses and in the de 
liriums of hunger which exhaust their psychic ca 
pacity in clinging to the object desired. In order 
to make more appropriate use of the psychic force, 
it becomes necessary to inhibit the full regression 
so as to prevent it from extending beyond the im 
age of memory, whence it can select other paths 
leading ultimately to the establishment of the de- 


sired identity from the outer world. This inhibi 
tion and consequent deviation from the excitation 
becomes the task of a second system which domi 
nates the voluntary motility, i.e. through whose ac 
tivity the expenditure of motility is now devoted 
to previously recalled purposes. But this entire 
complicated mental activity which works its way 
from the memory picture to the establishment of 
the perception identity from the outer world merely 
represents a detour which has been forced upon the 
wish-fulfillment by experience. 1 Thinking is in 
deed nothing but the equivalent of the hallucinatory 
wish ; and if the dream be called a wish- fulfillment 
this becomes self-evident, as nothing but a wish can 
impel our psychic apparatus to activity. The 
dream, which in fulfilling its wishes follows the 
short regressive path, thereby preserves for us only 
an example of the primary form of the psychic 
apparatus which has been abandoned as inexpedi 
ent. What once ruled in the waking state when 
the psychic life was still young and unfit seems to 
have been banished into the sleeping state, just as 
we see again in the nursery the bow and arrow, the 
discarded primitive weapons of grown-up human 
ity. The dream is a fragment of the abandoned 

i Le Lorrain justly extols the wish- fulfilment of the dream: "Sans 
fatigue serieuse, sans etre oblige de recourir a cette lutte oplnatre et 
longue qui use et corrode les jouissances poursuivies." 


psychic life of the child. In the psychoses these 
modes of operation of the psychic apparatus, which 
are normally suppressed in the waking state, reas 
sert themselves, and then betray their inability to 
satisfy our wants in the outer world. 

The unconscious wish-feelings evidently strive to 
assert themselves during the day also, and the fact 
of transference and the psychoses teach us that they 
endeavor to penetrate to consciousness and domi 
nate motility by the road leading through the sys 
tem of the foreconscious. It is, therefore, the 
censor lying between the Unc. and the Forec., the 
assumption of which is forced upon us by the 
dream, that we have to recognize and honor as the 
guardian of our psychic health. But is it not care 
lessness on the part of this guardian to diminish its 
vigilance during the night and to allow the sup 
pressed emotions of the Unc, to come to expression, 
thus again making possible the hallucinatory re 
gression? I think not, for when the critical guard 
ian goes to rest and we have proof that his slumber 
is not profound he takes care to close the gate to 
motility. No matter what feelings from the other 
wise inhibited Unc. may roam about on the scene, 
they need not be interfered with ; they remain harm 
less because they are unable to put in motion the 
motor apparatus which alone can exert a modifying 


influence upon the outer world. Sleep guarantees 
the security of the fortress which is under guard. 
Conditions are less harmless when a displacement 
of forces is produced, not through a nocturnal 
diminution in the operation of the critical censor, 
but through pathological enfeeblement of the lat 
ter or through pathological reinforcement of the 
unconscious excitations, and this while the forecon- 
scious is charged with energy and the avenues to 
motility are open. The guardian is then overpow 
ered, the unconscious excitations subdue the Forec. ; 
through it they dominate our speech and actions, 
or they enforce the hallucinatory regression, thus 
governing an apparatus not designed for them by 
virtue of the attraction exerted by the perceptions 
on the distribution of our psychic energy. We call 
this condition a psychosis. 

We are now in the best position to complete our 
psychological construction, which has been inter 
rupted by the introduction of the two systems, Unc. 
and Forec. We have still, however, ample reason 
for giving further consideration to the wish as the 
sole psychic motive power in the dream. We have 
explained that the reason why the dream is in every 
case a wish realization is because it is a product of 
the Unc., which knows no other aim in its activity 
but the fulfillment of wishes, and which has no other 


forces at its disposal but wish-feelings. If we avail 
ourselves for a moment longer of the right to elab 
orate from the dream interpretation such far-reach 
ing psychological speculations, we are in duty 
bound to demonstrate that we are thereby bringing 
the dream into a relationship which may also com 
prise other psychic structures. If there exists a 
system of the Unc. or something sufficiently an 
alogous to it for the purpose of our discussion 
the dream cannot be its sole manifestation; every 
dream may be a wish-fulfillment, but there must 
be other forms of abnormal wish-fulfillment be 
side this of dreams. Indeed, the theory of all 
psychoneurotic symptoms culminates in the prop 
osition that they too must be taken as wish-fulfill 
ments of the unconscious. Our explanation makes 
the dream only the first member of a group most 
important for the psychiatrist, an understanding 
of which means the solution of the purely psycho 
logical part of the psychiatric problem. But other 
members of this group of wish-fulfillments, e.g., 
the hysterical symptoms, evince one essential qual 
ity which I have so far failed to find in the dream. 
Thus, from the investigations frequently referred 
to in this treatise, I know that the formation of an 
hysterical symptom necessitates the combination of 
both streams of our psychic life. The symptom is 


not merely the expression of a realized unconscious 
wish, but it must be joined by another wish from 
the foreconscious which is fulfilled by the same 
symptom; so that the symptom is at least doubly 
determined, once by each one of the conflicting sys 
tems. Just as in the dream, there is no limit to 
further over-determination. The determination 
not derived from the Unc. is, as far as I can 
see, invariably a stream of thought in reaction 
against the unconscious wish, e.g., a self-punish 
ment. Hence I may say, in general, that an hys 
terical symptom originates only where two con 
trasting wish- fulfillments, having their source in 
different psychic systems, are able to combine in 
one expression. (Compare my latest formulation 
of the origin of the hysterical symptoms in a treatise 
published by the Zeitschrift filr Seocualwissen- 
schaft, by Hirschfeld and others, 1908). Ex 
amples on this point would prove of little value, as 
nothing but a complete unveiling of the complica 
tion in question would cany conviction. I there 
fore content myself with the mere assertion, and 
will cite an example, not for conviction but for ex 
plication. The hysterical vomiting of a female 
patient proved, on the one hand, to be the realiza 
tion of an unconscious fancy from the time of pu 
berty, that she might be continuously pregnant and 


have a multitude of children, and this was subse 
quently united with the wish that she might have 
them from as many men as possible. Against this 
immoderate wish there arose a powerful defensive 
impulse. But as the vomiting might spoil the pa 
tient s figure and beauty, so that she would not find 
favor in the eyes of mankind, the symptom was 
therefore in keeping with her punitive trend of 
thought, and, being thus admissible from both 
sides, it was allowed to become a reality. This is 
the same manner of consenting to a wish- fulfillment 
which the queen of the Parthians chose for the 
triumvir Crassus. Believing that he had under 
taken the campaign out of greed for gold, she 
caused molten gold to be poured into the throat of 
the corpse. "Now hast thou what thou hast longed 
for." As yet we know of the dream only that it 
expresses a wish-fulfillment of the unconscious ; and 
apparently the dominating foreconscious permits 
this only after it has subjected the wish to some 
distortions. We are really in no position to 
demonstrate regularly a stream of thought antag 
onistic to the dream-wish which is realized in the 
dream as in its counterpart. Only now and then 
have we found in the dream traces of reaction for 
mations, as, for instance, the tenderness toward 
friend R. in the "uncle dream." But the contribu- 


tion from the foreconscious, which is missing here, 
may be found in another place. While the domi 
nating system has withdrawn on the wish to sleep, 
the dream may bring to expression with manifold 
distortions a wish from the Unc., and realize this 
wish by producing the necessary changes of energy 
in the psychic apparatus, and may finally retain 
it through the entire duration of sleep. 1 

This persistent wish to sleep on the part of the 
foreconscious in general facilitates the formation 
of the dream. Let us refer to the dream of the fa 
ther who, by the gleam of light from the death 
chamber, was brought to the conclusion that the 
body has been set on fire. We have shown that 
one of the psychic forces decisive in causing the fa 
ther to form this conclusion, instead of being awak 
ened by the gleam of light, was the wish to ^prolong 
the life of the child seen in the dream by one mo 
ment. Other wishes proceeding from the repres 
sion probably escape us, because we are unable to 
analyze this dream. But as a second motive power 
of the dream we may mention the father s desire to 
sleep, for, like the life of the child, the sleep of the 
father is prolonged for a moment by the dream. 
The underlying motive is: "Let the dream go on, 

i This idea has been borrowed from Tke ( Theory of Sleep by 
Liebault, who revived hypnotic investigation in our days. (Du Som- 
meil provoque, etc.; Paris, 1889.) 


otherwise I must wake up." As in this dream so 
also in all other dreams, the wish to sleep lends its 
support to the unconscious wish. We reported 
dreams which were apparently dreams of con 
venience. But, properly speaking, all dreams 
may claim this designation. The efficacy of the 
wish to continue to sleep is the most easily rec 
ognized in the waking dreams, which so transform 
the objective sensory stimulus as to render it com 
patible with the continuance of sleep; they inter 
weave this stimulus with the dream in order to rob it 
of any claims it might make as a warning to the 
outer world. But this wish to continue to sleep 
must also participate in the formation of all other 
dreams which may disturb the sleeping state from 
within only. "Now, then, sleep on; why, it s but 
a dream"; this is in many cases the suggestion of 
the Forec. to consciousness when the dream goes 
too far ; and this also describes in a general way the 
attitude of our dominating psychic activity toward 
dreaming, though the thought remains tacit. I 
must draw the conclusion that throughout our en 
tire sleeping state we are just as certain that we are 
dreaming as we are certain that we are sleeping. 
We are compelled to disregard the objection urged 
against this conclusion that our consciousness is 
never directed to a knowledge of the former, and 


that it is directed to a knowledge of the latter only 
on special occasions when the censor is unexpectedly 
surprised. Against this objection we may say that 
there are persons who are entirely conscious of their 
sleeping and dreaming, and who are apparently 
endowed with the conscious faculty of guiding their 
dream life. Such a dreamer, when dissatisfied with 
the course taken by the dream, breaks it off without 
awakening, and begins it anew in order to con 
tinue it with a different turn, like the popular 
author who, on request, gives a happier ending to 
his play. Or, at another time, if placed by the 
dream in a sexually exciting situation, he thinks in 
his sleep: "I do not care to continue this dream 
and exhaust myself by a pollution; I prefer to de 
fer it in favor of a real situation." 



SINCE we know that the foreconscious is suspended 
during the night by the wish to sleep, we can pro 
ceed to an intelligent investigation of the dream 
process. But let us first sum up the knowledge 
of this process already gained. We have shown 
that the waking activity leaves day remnants from 
which the sum of energy cannot be entirely re 
moved; or the waking activity revives during the 
day one of the unconscious wishes; or both condi 
tions occur simultaneously; we have already dis 
covered the many variations that may take place. 
The unconscious wish has already made its way to 
the day remnants, either during the day or at any 
rate with the beginning of sleep, and has effected a 
transference to it. This produces a wish trans 
ferred to the recent material, or the suppressed re 
cent wish comes to life again through a reinforce 
ment from the unconscious. This wish now 
endeavors to make its way to consciousness on the 
normal path of the mental processes through the 
foreconscious, to which indeed it belongs through 



one of its constituent elements. It is confronted, 
however, by the censor, which is still active, and to 
the influence of which it now succumbs. It now 
takes on the distortion for which the way has al 
ready been paved by its transference to the recent 
material. Thus far it is in the way of becoming 
something resembling an obsession, delusion, or the 
like, i.e. a thought reinforced by a transference and 
distorted in expression by the censor. But its fur 
ther progress is now checked through the dormant 
state of the f oreconscious ; this system has appar 
ently protected itself against invasion by diminish 
ing its excitements. The dream process, therefore, 
takes the regressive course,, which has just been 
opened by the peculiarity of the sleeping state, and 
thereby follows the attraction exerted on it by the 
memory groups, which themselves exist in part only 
as visual energy not yet translated into terms of 
the later systems. On its way to regression the 
dream takes on the form of dramatization. The 
subject of compression will be discussed later. 
The dream process has now terminated the second 
part of its repeatedly impeded course. The first 
part expended itself progressively from the uncon 
scious scenes or phantasies to the foreconscious, 
while the second part gravitates from the advent of 
the censor back to the perceptions. But when the 


dream process becomes a content of perception it 
has, so to speak, eluded the obstacle set up in the 
Force, by the censor and by the sleeping state. It 
succeeds in drawing attention to itself and in being 
noticed by consciousness. For consciousness, which 
means to us a sensory organ for the reception of 
psychic qualities, may receive stimuli from two 
sources first, from the periphery of the entire ap 
paratus, viz. from the perception system, and, sec 
ondly, from the pleasure and pain stimuli, which 
constitute the sole psychic quality produced in the 
transformation of energy within the apparatus. 
All other processes in the system, even those in 
the foreconscious, are devoid of any psychic quality, 
and are therefore not objects of consciousness inas 
much as they do not furnish pleasure or pain for 
perception. We shall have to assume that those 
liberations of pleasure and pain automatically regu 
late the outlet of the occupation processes. But in 
order to make possible more delicate functions, it 
was later found necessary to render the course of 
the presentations more independent of the mani 
festations of pain. To accomplish this the Force, 
system needed some qualities of its own which 
could attract consciousness, and most probably re 
ceived them through the connection of the forecon 
scious processes with the memory system of the 


signs of speech, which is not devoid of qualities. 
Through the qualities of this system, consciousness, 
which had hitherto been a sensory organ only for 
the perceptions, now becomes also a sensory organ 
for a part of our mental processes. Thus we have 
now, as it were, two sensory surfaces, one directed 
to perceptions and the other to the foreconscious 
mental processes. 

I must assume that the sensory surface of con 
sciousness devoted to the Forec. is rendered less ex 
citable by sleep than that directed to the P-systems. 
The giving up of interest for the nocturnal mental 
processes is indeed purposeful. Nothing is to dis 
turb the mind; the Forec. wants to sleep. But 
once the dream becomes a perception, it is then cap 
able of exciting consciousness through the qualities 
thus gained. The sensory stimulus accomplishes 
what it was really destined for, namely, it directs a 
part of the energy at the disposal of the Forec. in 
the form of attention upon the stimulant. We 
must, therefore, admit that the dream invariably 
awakens us, that is, it puts into activity a part of 
the dormant force of the Forec. This force im 
parts to the dream that influence which we have 
designated as secondary elaboration for the sake 
of connection and comprehensibility. This means 
that the dream is treated by it like any other con- 


tent of perception; it is subjected to the same ideas 
of expectation, as far at least as the material admits. 
As far as the direction is concerned in this third 
part of the dream, it may be said that here again 
the movement is progressive. 

To avoid misunderstanding, it will not be amiss 
to say a few words about the temporal peculiarities 
of these dream processes. In a very interesting 
discussion, apparently suggested by Maury s puz 
zling guillotine dream, Goblet tries to demonstrate 
that the dream requires no other time than the 
transition period between sleeping and awakening. 
The awakening requires time, as the dream takes 
place during that period. One is inclined to be 
lieve that the final picture of the dream is so strong 
that it forces the dreamer to awaken ; but, as a mat 
ter of fact, this picture is strong only because the 
dreamer is already very near awakening when it 
appears. "Un reve c est un reveil qui commence." 

It has already been emphasized by Dugas that 
Goblet was forced to repudiate many facts in order 
to generalize his theory. There are, moreover, 
dreams from which we do not awaken, e.g., some 
dreams in which we dream that we dream. From 
our knowledge of the dream-work, we can by no 
means admit that it extends only over the period of 
awakening. On the contrary, we must consider it 


probable that the first part of the dream-work be 
gins during the day when we are still under the 
domination of the foreconscious. The second 
phase of the dream-work, viz. the modification 
through the censor, the attraction by the uncon 
scious scenes, and the penetration to perception 
must continue throughout the night. And we are 
probably always right when we assert that we feel 
as though we had been dreaming the whole night, 
although we cannot say what. I do not, however, 
think it necessary to assume that, up to the time of 
becoming conscious, the dream processes really fol 
low the temp,Qxal sequence which we have described, 
viz. that there is first the transferred dream-wish, 
then the distortion of the censor, and consequently 
the change of direction to regression, and so on. 
We were forced to form such a succession for the 
sake of description; in reality, however, it is much 
rather a matter of simultaneously trying this path 
and that, and of emotions fluctuating to and fro, 
until finally, owing to the most expedient distribu 
tion, one particular grouping is secured which re 
mains. From certain personal experiences, I am 
myself inclined to believe that the dream-work often 
requires more than one day and one night to pro 
duce its result ; if this be true, the extraordinary art 
manifested in the construction of the dream loses 


all its marvels. In my opinion, even the regard for 
compreherisibility as an occurrence of perception 
may take effect before the dream attracts conscious 
ness to itself. To be sure, from now on the process 
is accelerated, as the dream is henceforth subjected 
to the same treatment as any other perception. It 
is like fireworks, which require hours of preparation 
and only a moment for ignition. 

Through the dream- work the dream process now 
gains either sufficient intensity to attract conscious 
ness to itself and arouse the foreconscious, which is 
quite independent of the time or profundity of 
sleep, or, its intensity being insufficient it must wait 
until it meets the attention which is set in motion 
immediately before awakening. Most dreams 
seem to operate with relatively slight psychic in 
tensities, for they wait for the awakening. This, 
however, explains the fact that we regularly per 
ceive something dreamt on being suddenly aroused 
from a sound sleep. Here, as well as in spontane 
ous awakening, the first glance strikes the precep- 
tion content created by the dream-work, while the 
next strikes the one produced from without. 

But of greater theoretical interest are those 
dreams which are capable of waking us in the midst 
of sleep. We must bear in mind the expediency 
elsewhere universally demonstrated, and ask our- 


selves why the dream or the unconscious wish has 
the power to disturb sleep, i.e. the fulfillment of 
the foreconscious wish. This is probably due to 
certain relations of energy into which we have no in 
sight. If we possessed such insight we should 
probably find that the freedom given to the dream 
and the expenditure of a certain amount of de 
tached attention represent for the dream an eco 
nomy in energy, keeping in view the fact that the 
unconscious must be held in check at night just as 
during the day. We know from experience that 
the dream, even if it interrupts sleep, repeatedly 
during the same night, still remains compatible with 
sleep. We wake up for an instant, and immedi 
ately resume our sleep. It is like driving off a fly 
during sleep, we awake ad hoc, and when we re 
sume our sleep we have removed the disturbance. 
As demonstrated by familiar examples from the 
sleep of wet nurses, &c., the fulfillment of the wish 
to sleep is quite compatible with the retention of a 
certain amount of attention in a given direction. 

But we must here take cognizance of an objection 
that is based on a better knowledge of the uncon 
scious processes. Although we have ourselves de 
scribed the unconscious wishes as always active, we 
have, nevertheless, asserted that they are not suffi 
ciently strong during the day to make themselves 


perceptible. But when we sleep, and the uncon 
scious wish has shown its power to form a dream, 
and with it to awaken the foreconscious, why, then, 
does this power become exhausted after the dream 
has been taken cognizance of? Would it not seem 
more probable that the dream should continually 
renew itself, like the troublesome fly which, when 
driven away, takes pleasure in returning again and 
again? What justifies our assertion that the dream 
removes the disturbance of sleep? 

That the unconscious wishes always remain ac 
tive is quite true. They represent paths which are 
passable whenever a sum of excitement makes use 
of them. Moreover, a remarkable peculiarity of 
the unconscious processes is the fact that they re 
main indestructible. Nothing can be brought to 
an end in the unconscious; nothing can cease or be 
forgotten. This impression is most strongly gained 
in the study of the neuroses, especially of hysteria. 
The unconscious stream of thought which leads to 
the discharge through an attack becomes passable 
again as soon as there is an accumulation of a suffi 
cient amount of excitement. The mortification 
brought on thirty years ago, after having gained ac 
cess to the unconscious affective source, operates 
during all these thirty years like a recent one. 
Whenever its memory is touched, it is revived and 


shows itself to be supplied with the excitement 
which is discharged in a motor attack. It is just 
here that the office of psychotherapy begins, its task 
being to bring about adjustment and forgetfulness 
for the unconscious processes. Indeed, the fading 
of memories and the flagging of affects, which we 
are apt to take as self-evident and to explain as a 
primary influence of time on the psychic memories, 
are in reality secondary changes brought about by 
painstaking work. It is the foreconscious that ac 
complishes this work; and the only course to be 
pursued by psychotherapy is .the subjugate the 
Unc, to the domination of the Forec. 

There are, therefore, two exits for the individual 
unconscious emotional process. It is either left to 
itself, in which case it ultimately breaks through 
somewhere and secures for once a discharge for its 
excitation into motility; or it succumbs to the in 
fluence of the foreconscious, and its excitation be 
comes confined through this influence instead of 
being discharged. It is the latter process that oc 
curs in the dream. Owing to the fact that it is 
directed by the conscious excitement, the energy 
from the Forec., which confronts the dream when 
grown to perception, restricts the unconscious ex 
citement of the dream and renders it harmless as a 
disturbing factor. When the dreamer wakes up 


for a moment, he has actually chased away the fly 
that has threatened to disturb his sleep. We can 
now understand that it is really more expedient and 
economical to give full sway to the unconscious 
wish, and clear its way to regression so that it may 
form a dream, and then restrict and adjust this 
dream by means of a small expenditure of forecon- 
scious labor, than to curb the unconscious through 
out the entire period of sleep. We should, indeed, 
expect that the dream, even if it was not originally 
an expedient process, would have acquired some 
function in the play of forces of the psychic life. 
We now see what this function is. The dream has 
taken it upon itself to bring the liberated excitement 
of the Unc. back under the domination of the fore- 
conscious; it thus affords relief for the excitement 
of the Unc. and acts as a safety-valve for the latter, 
and at the same time it insures the sleep of the 
foreconscious at a slight expenditure of the waking 
state. Like the other psychic formations of its 
group, the dream offers itself as a compromise serv 
ing simultaneously both systems by fulfilling both 
wishes in so far as they are compatible with each 
other. A glance at Robert s "elimination theory," 
will show that we must agree with this author in 
his main point, viz. in the determination of the func 
tion of the dream, though we differ from him in 


our hypotheses and in our treatment of the dream 

The above qualification in so far as the two 
wishes are compatible with each other contains a 
suggestion that there may be cases in which the 
function of the dream suffers shipwreck. The 
dream process is in the first instance admitted as a 
wish-fulfillment of the unconscious, but if this tenta 
tive wish-fulfillment disturbs the foreconscious to 
such an extent that the latter can no longer main 
tain its rest, the dream then breaks the compromise 
and fails to perform the second part of its task. 
It is then at once broken off, and replaced by com 
plete wakefulness. Here, too, it is not really the 
fault of the dream, if, while ordinarily the guardian 
of sleep, it is here compelled to appear as the dis 
turber of sleep, nor should this cause us to entertain 
any doubts as to its efficacy. This is not the only 
case in the organism in which an otherwise effica 
cious arrangement became inefficacious and disturb 
ing as soon as some element is changed in the con 
ditions of its origin; the disturbance then serves at 
least the new purpose of announcing the change, 
and calling into play against it the means of ad 
justment of the organism. In this connection, I 
naturally bear in mind the case of the anxiety 
dream, and in order not to have the appearance of 


trying to exclude this testimony against the theory 
of wish-fulfillment wherever I encounter it, I will 
attempt an explanation of the anxiety dream, at 
least offering some suggestions. 

That a psychic process developing anxiety may 
still be a wish-fulfillment has long ceased to impress 
us as a contradiction. We may explain this oc 
currence by the fact that the wish belongs to one 
system (the Unc.), while by the other system (the 
Forec.) , this wish has been rejected and suppressed. 
The subjection of the Unc. by the Forec. is not 
complete even in perfect psychic health; the amount 
of this suppression shows the degree of our psychic 
normality. Neurotic symptoms show that there is 
a conflict between the two systems; the symptoms 
are the results of a compromise of this conflict, and 
they temporarily put an end to it. On the one 
hand, they afford the Unc. an outlet for the dis 
charge of its excitement, and serve it as a sally 
port, while, on the other hand, they give the Forec. 
the capability of dominating the Unc. to some ex 
tent. It is highly instructive to consider, e.g., the 
significance of any hysterical phobia or of an ago 
raphobia. Suppose a neurotic incapable of cross 
ing the street alone, which we would justly call a 
"symptom." We attempt to remove this symp 
tom by urging him to the action which he deems 


himself incapable of. The result will be an attack 
of anxiety, just as an attack of anxiety in the street 
has often been the cause of establishing an ago 
raphobia. We thus learn that the symptom has 
been constituted in order to guard against the out 
break of the anxiety. The phobia is thrown before 
the anxiety like a fortress on the frontier. 

Unless we enter into the part played by the af 
fects in these processes, which can be done here only 
imperfectly, we cannot continue our discussion. 
Let us therefore advance the proposition that the 
reason why the suppression of the unconscious be 
comes absolutely necessary is because, if the dis 
charge of presentation should be left to itself, it 
would develop an affect in the Unc. which originally 
bore the character of pleasure, but which, since the 
appearance of the repression, bears the character 
of pain. The aim, as well as the result, of the sup 
pression is to stop the development of this pain^ 
The suppression extends over the unconscious idea 
tion, because the liberation of pain might emanate 
from the ideation. The foundation is here laid for 
a very definite assumption concerning the nature 
of the affective development. It is regarded as a 
motor or secondary activity, the key to the innerva- 
tion of which is located in the presentations of the 
Unc. Through the domination of the Force. 


these presentations become, as it were, throttled 
and inhibited at the exit of the emotion-developing 
impulses. The danger, which is due to the fact 
that the Force, ceases to occupy the energy, there 
fore consists in the fact that the unconscious excita 
tions liberate such an affect as in consequence of 
the repression that has previously taken place can 
only be perceived as pain or anxiety. 

This danger is released through the full sway of 
the dream process. The determinations for its re 
alization consist in the fact that repressions have 
taken place, and that the suppressed emotional 
wishes shall become sufficiently strong. They thus 
stand entirely without the psychological realm of 
the dream structure. Were it not for the fact that 
our subject is connected through just one factor, 
namely, the freeing of the Unc. during sleep, with 
the subject of the development of anxiety, I could 
dispense with discussion of the anxiety dream, and 
thus avoid all obscurities connected with it. 

As I have often repeated, the theory of the anx 
iety belongs to the psychology of the neuroses. I 
would say that the anxiety in the dream is an anx 
iety problem and not a dream problem. We have 
nothing further to do with it after having once 
demonstrated its point of contact with the subject 
of the dream process. There is only one thing left 


for me to do. As I have asserted that the neurotic 
anxiety originates from sexual sources, I can sub 
ject anxiety dreams to analysis in order to demon 
strate the sexual material in their dream thoughts. 

For good reasons I refrain from citing here any 
of the numerous examples placed at my disposal by 
neurotic patients, but prefer to give anxiety dreams 
from young persons. 

Personally, I have had no real anxiety dream for 
decades, but I recall one from my seventh or eighth 
year which I subjected to interpretation about 
thirty years later. The dream was very vivid, and 
showed me my beloved mother, with peculiarly calm 
sleeping countenance, carried into the room and 
laid on the bed by two (or three ) persons with 
birds beaks. I awoke crying and screaming, and* 
disturbed my parents. The very tall figures 
draped in a peculiar manner with beaks, I had 
taken from the illustrations of Philippson s bible; 
I believe they represented deities with heads of 
sparrowhawks from an Egyptian tomb relief, The 
analysis also introduced the reminiscence of a 
naughty janitor s boy, who used to play with us 
children on the meadow in front of the house; I 
would add that his name was Philip. I feel that I 
first heard from this boy the vulgar word signifying 
sexual intercourse, which is replaced among the ed- 


ucated by the Latin "coitus," but to which the 
dream distinctly alludes by the selection of the 
birds heads. I must have suspected the sexual 
significance of the word from the facial expression 
of my worldly-wise teacher. My mother s fea 
tures in the dream were copied from the counte 
nance of my grandfather, whom I had seen a few 
days before his death snoring in the state of coma. 
The interpretation of the secondary elaboration in 
the dream must therefore have been that my mother 
was dying; the tomb relief, too, agrees with this. 
In this anxiety I awoke, and could not calm myself 
until I had awakened my parents. I remember 
that I suddenly became calm on coming face to 
face with my mother, as if I needed the assurance 
that my mother was not dead. But this secondary 
interpretation of the dream had been effected only 
under the influence of the developed anxiety. I 
was not frightened because I dreamed that my 
mother was dying, but I interpreted the dream -in 
this manner in the foreconscious elaboration because 
I was already under the domination of the anxiety. 
The latter, however, could be traced by means of 
the repression to an obscure obviously sexual de 
sire, which had found its satisfying expression in 
the visual content of the dream. 

A man twenty-seven years old who had been se- 


verely ill for a year had had many terrifying dreams 
between the ages of eleven and thirteen. He 
thought that a man with an ax was running after 
him ; he wished to run, but felt paralyzed and could 
not move from the spot. This may be taken as a 
good example of a very common, and apparently 
sexually indifferent, anxiety dream. In the an 
alysis the dreamer first thought of a story told him 
by his uncle, which chronologically was later than 
the dream, viz. that he was attacked at night by a 
suspicious-looking individual. This occurrence 
led him to believe that he himself might have al 
ready heard of a similar episode at the time of the 
dream. In connection with the ax he recalled that 
during that period of his life he once hurt his hand 
with an ax while chopping wood. This immedi 
ately led to his relations with his younger brother, 
whom he used to maltreat and knock down. In 
particular, he recalled an occasion when he struck 
his brother on the head with his boot until he bled, 
whereupon his mother remarked: "I fear he will 
kill him some day." While he was seemingly 
thinking of the subject of violence, a reminiscence 
from his ninth year suddenly occurred to him. His 
parents came home late and went to bed while he 
was feigning sleep. He soon heard panting and 
other noises that appeared strange to him, and he 


could also make out the position of his parents in 
bed. His further associations showed that he had 
established an analogy between this relation be 
tween his parents and his own relation toward his 
younger brother. He subsumed what occurred be 
tween his parents under the conception "violence 
and wrestling," and thus reached a sadistic concep 
tion of the coitus act, as often happens among chil 
dren. The fact that he often noticed blood on his 
mother s bed corroborated his conception. 

That the sexual intercourse of adults appears 
strange to children who observe it, and arouses fear 
in them, I dare say is a fact of daily experience. I 
have explained this fear by the fact that sexual ex 
citement is not mastered by their understanding, 
and is probably also inacceptable to them because 
their parents are involved in it. For the same rea 
son this excitement is converted into fear. At a 
still earlier period of life sexual emotion directed 
toward the parent of opposite sex does not meet 
with repression but finds free expression, as we 
have seen before. 

For the night terrors with hallucinations (pavor 
nocturnus) frequently found in children, I would 
unhesitatingly give the same explanation. Here, 
too, we are certainly dealing with the incomprehen 
sible and rejected sexual feelings, which, if noted, 


would probably show a temporal periodicity, for an 
enhancement of the sexual libido may just as well 
be produced accidentally through emotional im 
pressions as through the spontaneous and gradual 
processes of development. 

I lack the necessary material to sustain these ex 
planations from observation. On the other hand, 
the pediatrists seem to lack the point of view which 
alone makes comprehensible the whole series of 
phenomena, on the somatic as well as on the psychic 
side. To illustrate by a comical example how one 
wearing the blinders of medical mythology may 
miss the understanding of such cases I will relate a 
case which I found in a thesis on pavor nocturnus 
by Debacker, 1881. A thirteen-year-old boy of 
delicate health began to become anxious and 
dreamy; his sleep became restless, and about once 
a week it was interrupted by an acute attack of 
anxiety with hallucinations. The memory of these 
dreams was invariably very distinct. Thus, he re 
lated that the devil shouted at him: "Now we 
have you, now we have you," and this was followed 
by an odor of sulphur; the fire burned his skin. 
This dream aroused him, terror-stricken. He was 
unable to scream at first; then his voice returned, 
and he was heard to say distinctly: "No, no, not 
me; why, I have done nothing," or, "Please don t, 


I shall never do it again." Occasionally, also, he 
said: "Albert has not done that." Later he 
avoided undressing, because, as he said, the fire at 
tacked him only when he was undressed. From 
amid these evil dreams, which menaced his health, 
he was sent into the country, where he recovered 
within a year and a half, but at the age of fifteen 
he once confessed: "Je n osais pas 1 avouer, mais 
j eprouvais continuellement des picotements et des 
surexcitations aux parties; a la fin, cela m enervait 
tant que plusieurs fois, j ai pense me Jeter par la 
fenetre au dortoir." 

It is certainly not difficult to suspect: 1, that 
the boy had practiced masturbation in former 
years, that he probably denied it, and was threat 
ened with severe punishment for his wrongdoing 
(his confession: Je ne le ferai plus; his denial: Al 
bert n a jamais fait 9a). 2, That under the pres 
sure of puberty the temptation to self-abuse 
through the tickling of the genitals was reawak 
ened. 3, That now, however, a struggle of repres 
sion arose in him, suppressing the libido and chang 
ing it into fear, which subsequently took the form 
of the punishments with which he was then threat 

Let us, however, quote the conclusions drawn by 
our author. This observation shows: 1, That 


the influence of puberty may produce in a boy 
of delicate health a condition of extreme weakness, 
and that it may lead to a very marked cerebral 

2. This cerebral anaemia produces a transforma 
tion of character, demonomaniacal hallucinations, 
and very violent nocturnal, perhaps also diurnal, 
states of anxiety. 

3. Demonomania and the self-reproaches of the 
day can be traced to the influences of religious ed 
ucation which the subject underwent as a child. 

4. All manifestations disappeared as a result of 
a lengthy sojourn in the country, bodily exercise, 
and the return of physical strength after the termi 
nation of the period of puberty. 

5. A predisposing influence for the origin of the 
cerebral condition of the boy may be attributed to 
heredity and to the father s chronic syphilitic state. 

The concluding remarks of the author read: 
"Nous avons fait entrer cette observation dans le 
cadre des delires apyretiques d inanition, car c est 
a rischemie cerebrale que nous rattachons cet etat 



IN venturing to attempt to penetrate more deeply 
into the psychology of the dream processes, I have 
undertaken a difficult task, to which, indeed, my 
power of description is hardly equal. To repro 
duce in description by a succession of words the 
simultaneousness of so complex a chain of events, 
and in doing so to appear unbiassed throughout the 
exposition, goes fairly beyond my powers. I have 
now to atone for the fact that I have been unable 
in my description of the dream psychology to fol 
low the historic development of my views. The 
view-points for my conception of the dream were 
reached through earlier investigations in the psy 
chology of the neuroses, to which I am not supposed 
to refer here, but to which I am repeatedly forced 
to refer, whereas I should prefer to proceed in the 
opposite direction, and, starting from the dream, to 
establish a connection with the psychology of the 
neuroses. I am well aware of all the inconven 
iences arising for the reader from this difficulty, 
but I know of no way to avoid them. 



As I am dissatisfied with this state of affairs, I 
am glad to dwell upon another view-point which 
seems to raise the value of my efforts. As has 
been shown in the introduction to the first chaper, 
I found myself confronted with a theme which had 
been marked by the sharpest contradictions on the 
part of the authorities. After our elaboration of 
the dream problems we found room for most of 
these contradictions. We have been forced, how 
ever, to take decided exception to two of the views 
pronounced, viz. thaJLJJie-JJi^ai^^ 
that it is a somatic process; apart from these cases 
we have had to accept all the contradictory views 
in one place or another of the complicated argu 
ment, and we have been able to demonstrate that 
they had discovered something that was correct. 
That the dream continues the impulses and inter 
ests of the waking state has been quite generally 
confirmed through the discovery of the latent 
thoughts of the dream. These thoughts concern 
themselves only with things that seem important 
and of momentous interest to us. The dream never 
occupies itself with trifles. But we have also con 
curred with the contrary view, viz., tj 

gathers up the indifferent remnants from thejday, 
and that not until it has in some measure withdrawn 
itself from the waking activity can an important 


event of the day be taken up by the dream. We 
found this holding true for the dream content, 
which gives the dream thought its changed expres 
sion by means of disfigurement. We have said 
that from the nature of the association mechanism 
the dream process more easily takes possession of 
recent or indifferent material which has not yet 
been seized by the waking mental activity; and by 
reason of the censor it transfers the psychic intens 
ity from the important but also disagreeable to the 
indifferent material. The hypermnesia of the 
dream and the resort to infantile material have be 
come main supports in our theory. In our theory 
of the dream we have attributed to the wish origi 
nating from the infantile the part of an indispensa 
ble motor for the formation of the dream. We 
naturally could not think of doubting the experi 
mentally demonstrated significance of the objective 
sensory stimuli during sleep; but we have brought 
this material into the same relation to the dream- 
wish as the thought remnants from the waking ac 
tivity. There was no need of disputing the fact 
that the dream interprets the objective sensory 
stimuli after the manner of an illusion ; but we have 
supplied the motive for this interpretation which 
has been left undecided by the authorities. The 
interpretation follows in such a manner that the 


perceived object is rendered harmless as a sleep dis 
turber and becomes available for the wish-fulfill 
ment. Though we do not admit as special sources 
of the dream the subjective state of excitement of 
the sensory organs during sleep, which seems to 
have been demonstrated by Trumbull Ladd, we 
are nevertheless able to explain this excitement 
through the regressive revival of active memories 
behind the dream. A modest part in our concep 
tion has also been assigned to the inner organic 
sensations which are wont to be taken as the cardi 
nal point in the explanation of the dream. These 
the sensation of falling, flying, or inhibition- 
stand as an ever ready material to be used by the 
dream-work to express the dream thought as often 
as need arises. 

That the dream process is a rapid and momentary 
one seems to be true for the perception through con 
sciousness of the already prepared dream content; 
the preceding parts of the dream process probably 
take a slow, fluctuating course. We have solved 
the riddle of the superabundant dream content com 
pressed within the briefest moment by explaining 
that this is due to the appropriation of almost fully 
formed structures from the psychic life. That the 
dream is disfigured and distorted by memory we 
found to be correct, but not troublesome, as this is 


only the last manifest operation in the work of dis 
figurement which has been active from the begin 
ning of the dream-work. In the bitter and seem 
ingly irreconcilable controversy as to whether the 
psychic life sleeps at night or can make the same 
use of all its capabilities as during the day, we have 
been able to agree with both sides, though not fully 
with either. We have found proof that the dream 
thoughts represent a most complicated intellectual 
activity, employing almost every means furnished 
by the psychic apparatus; still it cannot be denied 
that these dream thoughts have originated during 
the day, and it is indispensable to assume that there 
is a sleeping state of the psychic life. Thus, even 
the theory of partial sleep has come into play; but 
the characteristics of the sleeping state have been 
found not in the dilapidation of the psychic connec 
tions but in the cessation of the psychic system 
dominating the day, arising from its desire to sleep. 
The withdrawal from the outer world retains its 
significance also for our conception ; though not the 
only factor, it nevertheless helps the regression to 
make possible the representation of the dreanl. 
That we should reject the voluntary guidance of the 
presentation course is uncontestable ; but the psy 
chic life does not thereby become aimless, for we 
have seen that after the abandonment of the desired 


end-presentation undesired ones gain the mastery. 
The loose associative connection in the dream we 
have not only recognized, but we have placed under 
its control a far greater territory than could have 
been supposed; we have, however, found it merely 
the feigned substitute for another correct and sense- 
ful one. To be sure we, too, have called the dream 
absurd; but we have been able to learn from ex 
amples how wise the dream really is when it simu 
lates absurdity. We do not deny any of the func 
tions that have been attributed to the dream. That 
the dream relieves the mind like a valve, and that, 
according to Robert s assertion, all kinds of harm 
ful material are rendered harmless through repre 
sentation in the dream, not only exactly coincides 
with our theory of the twofold wish-fulfillment in 
the dream, but, in his own wording, becomes even 
more comprehensible for us than for Robert himself. 
The free indulgence of the psychic in the play of 
its faculties finds expression with us in the non 
interference with the dream on the part of the fore- 
conscious activity. The "return to the embryonal 
state of psychic life in the dream" and the observa 
tion of Havelock Ellis, "an archaic world of vast 
emotions and imperfect thoughts," appear to us as 
happy anticipations of our deductions to the effect 
that primitive modes of work suppressed during 


the day participate in the formation of the dream; 
and with us, as with Delage, the suppressed ma 
terial becomes the mainspring of the dreaming. 

We have fully recognized the role which Schemer 
ascribes to the dream phantasy, and even his inter 
pretation ; but we have been obliged, so to speak, to 
conduct them to another department in the prob 
lem. It is not the dream that produces the phan 
tasy but the unconscious phantasy that takes the 
greatest part in the formation of the dream 
thoughts. We are indebted to Schemer for his 
clew to the source of the dream thoughts, but almost 
everything that he ascribes to the dream-work is 
attributable to the activity of the unconscious, 
which is at work during the day, and which sup 
plies incitements not only for dreams but for neu 
rotic symptoms as well. We have had to separate 
the dream-work from this activity as being some 
thing entirely different and far more restricted. 
Finally, we have by no means abandoned the rela 
tion of the dream to mental disturbances, but, on 
the contrary, we have given it a more solid founda 
tion on new ground. 

Thus held together by the new material of our 
theory as by a superior unity, we find the most 
varied and most contradictory conclusions of the 
Authorities fitting into our structure ; some of them 


are differently disposed, only a few of them are 
entirely rejected. But our own structure is still 
unfinished. For, disregarding the many obscuri 
ties which we have necessarily encountered in our 
advance into the darkness of psychology, we are 
now apparently embarrassed by a new contradic 
tion. On the one hand, we have allowed the dream 
thoughts to proceed from perfectly normal mental 
operations, while, on the other hand, we have found 
among the dream thoughts a number of entirely 
abnormal mental processes which extend likewise 
to the dream contents. These, consequently, we 
have repeated in the interpretation of the dream. 
All that we have termed the "dream- work" seems 
so remote from the psychic processes recognized by 
us as correct, that the severest judgments of the 
authors as to the low psychic activity of dreaming 
seem to us well founded. 

Perhaps only through still further advance can 
enlightenment and improvement be brought about. 
I shall pick out one of the constellations leading to 
the formation of dreams. 

We have learned that the dream replaces a num 
ber of thoughts derived from daily life which are 
perfectly formed logically. We cannot therefore 
doubt that these thoughts originate from our nor 
mal mental life. All the qualities which we esteem 


in our mental operations, and which distinguish 
these as complicated activities of a high order, we 
find repeated in the dream thoughts. There is, 
however, no need of assuming that this mental work 
is performed during sleep, as this would materially 
impair the conception of the psychic state of sleep 
we have hitherto adhered to. These thoughts may 
just as well have originated from the day, and, un 
noticed by our consciousness from their inception, 
they may have continued to develop until they stood 
complete at the onset of sleep. If we are to con 
clude anything from this state of affairs, it will at 
most prove that the most complex mental opera 
tions are possible without the cooperation of con 
sciousness, which we have already learned independ 
ently from every psychoanalysis of persons suffer 
ing from hysteria or obsessions. These dream 
thoughts are in themselves surely not incapable of 
consciousness ; if they have not become conscious to 
us during the day, this may have various reasons. 
The state of becoming conscious depends on the ex 
ercise of a certain psychic function, viz. attention, 
which seems to be extended only in a definite quan 
tity, and which may have been withdrawn from the 
stream of thought in question by other aims. An 
other way in which such mental streams are kept 
from consciousness is the following: Our conscious 


reflection teaches us that when exercising attention 
we pursue a definite course. But if that course 
leads us to an idea which does not hold its own with 
the critic, we discontinue and cease to apply our 
attention. Now, apparently, the stream of thought 
thus started and abandoned may spin on without 
regaining attention unless it reaches a spot of es 
pecially marked intensity which forces the return 
of attention. An initial rejection, perhaps con 
sciously brought about by the judgment on the 
ground of incorrectness or unfitness for the actual 
purpose of the mental act, may therefore account 
for the fact that a mental process continues until 
the onset of sleep unnoticed by consciousness. 

Let us recapitulate by saying that we call such 
a stream of thought a f oreconscious one, that we be 
lieve it to be perfectly correct, and that it may just 
as well be a more neglected one or an interrupted 
and suppressed one. Let us also state frankly in 
what manner we conceive this presentation course. 
We believe that a certain sum of excitement, which 
we call occupation energy, is displaced from an end- 
presentation along the association paths selected by 
that end-presentation. A "neglected" stream of 
thought has received no such occupation, and from 
a "suppressed" or "rejected" one this occupation 
has been withdrawn; both have thus been left to 


their own emotions. The end-stream of thought 
stocked with energy is under certain conditions able 
to draw to itself the attention of consciousness, 
through which means it then receives a "surplus of 
energy." We shall be obliged somewhat later to 
elucidate our assumption concerning the nature and 
activity of consciousness. 

A train of thought thus incited in the Forec. may 
either disappear spontaneously or continue. The 
former issue we conceive as follows: It diffuses 
its energy through all the association paths emanat 
ing from it, and throws the entire chain of ideas into 
a state of excitement which, after lasting for a 
while, subsides through the transformation of the 
excitement requiring an outlet into dormant en 
ergy. 1 If this first issue is brought about the pro 
cess has no further significance for the dream forma 
tion. But other end-presentations are lurking in 
our foreconscious that originate from the sources 
of our unconscious and from the ever active wishes. 
These may take possession of the excitations in the 
circle of thought thus left to itself, establish a con 
nection between it and the unconscious wish, and 
transfer to it the energy inherent in the unconscious 
wish. Henceforth the neglected or suppressed 

K7/. the significant observations by J. Bueuer in our Studies on 
Hysteria, 1895, and 2nd ed. 1909. 


train of thought is in a position to maintain itself, 
although this reinforcement does not help it to gain 
access to consciousness. We may say that the 
hitherto foreconscious train of thought has been 
drawn into the unconscious. 

Other constellations for the dream formation 
would result if the foreconscious train of thought 
had from the beginning been connected with the 
unconscious wish, and for that reason met with re 
jection by the dominating end-occupation; or if an 
unconscious wish were made active for other pos 
sibly somatic reasons and of its own accord sought 
a transference to the psychic remnants not occupied 
by the Forec. All three cases finally combine in 
one issue, so that there is established in the forecon 
scious a stream of thought which, having been aban 
doned by the foreconscious occupation, receives oc 
cupation from, the unconscious wish. 

The stream of thought is henceforth subjected 
to a series of transformations which we no longer 
recognize as normal psychic processes and which 
give us a surprising result, viz. a psychopathological 
formation. Let us emphasize and group the same. 

1. The intensities of the individual ideas become 
capable of discharge in their entirety, and, proceed 
ing from one conception to the other, they thus 
form single presentations endowed with marked in- 


tensity. Through the repeated recurrence of this 
process the intensity of an e.ntire train of ideas may 
ultimately be gathered in a single presentation ele 
ment. This is the principle of compression or con 
densation. It is condensation that is mainly re 
sponsible for the strange impression of the dream, 
for we know of nothing analogous to it in the nor 
mal psychic life accessible to consciousness. We 
find here, also, presentations which possess great 
psychic significance as junctions or as end-results 
of whole chains of thought; but this validity does 
not manifest itself in any character conspicuous 
enough for internal perception; hence, what has 
been presented in it does not become in any way 
more intensive. In the process of condensation the 
entire psychic connection becomes transformed into 
the intensity of the presentation content. It is the 
same as in a book where we space or print in heavy 
type any word upon which particular stress is laid 
for the understanding of the text. In speech the 
same word would be pronounced loudly and de 
liberately and with emphasis. The first compari 
son leads us at once to an example taken from the 
chapter on "The Dream-Work" (trimethylamine 
in the dream of Irma s injection) . Historians of 
art call our attention to the fact that the most an 
cient historical sculptures follow a similar principle 


in expressing the rank of the persons represented 
by the size of the statue. The king is made two or 
three times as large as his retinue or the vanquished 
enemy. A piece of art, however, from the Roman 
period makes use of more subtle means to accom 
plish the same purpose. The figure of the emperor 
is placed in- the center in a firmly erect posture; 
special care is bestowed on the proper modelling of 
his figure ; his enemies are seen cowering at his feet ; 
but he is no longer represented a giant among 
dwarfs. However, the bowing of the subordinate 
to his superior in our own days is only an echo of 
that ancient principle of representation. 

The direction taken by the condensations of the 
dream is prescribed on the one hand by the true 
foreconscious relations of the dream thoughts, on 
the other hand by the attraction of the visual remi 
niscences in the unconscious. The success of the 
condensation work produces those intensities which 
are required for penetration into the perception 

2. Through this free transferability of the in 
tensities, moreover, and in the service of condensa 
tion, intermediary presentations compromises, as 
it were are formed (cf. the numerous examples). 
This, likewise, is something unheard of in the nor 
mal presentation course, where it is above all a 


question of selection and retention of the "proper" 
presentation element. On the other hand, com 
posite and compromise formations occur with ex 
traordinary frequency when we are trying to find 
the linguistic expression for foreconscious thoughts; 
these are considered "slips of the tongue." 

3. The presentations which transfer their intensi 
ties to one another are very loosely connected, and 
are joined together by such forms of association as 
are spurned in our serious thought and are utilized 
in the production of the effect of wit only. Among 
these we particularly find associations of the sound 
and consonance types. 

4. Contradictory thoughts do not strive to elimi 
nate one another, but remain side by side. They 
often unite to produce condensation as if no con 
tradiction existed, or they form compromises for 
which we should never forgive our thoughts, but 
which we frequently approve of in our actions. 

These are some of the most conspicuous abnor 
mal processes to which the thoughts which have 
previously been rationally formed are subjected in 
the course of the dream-work. As the main feature 
of these processes we recognize the high importance 
attached to the fact of rendering the occupation 
energy mobile and capable of discharge; the content 
and the actual significance of the psychic elements, 


to which these energies adhere, become a matter of 
secondary importance. One might possibly think 
that the condensation and compromise formation is 
effected only in the service of regression, when oc 
casion arises for changing thoughts into pictures. 
But the analysis and still more distinctly the 
synthesis of dreams which lack regression toward 
pictures, e.g. the dream "Autodidasker Conversa 
tion with Court-Councilor N.," present the same 
processes of displacement and condensation as the 

Hence we cannot refuse to acknowledge that the 
two kinds of essentially different psychic processes 
participate in the formation of the dream; one 
forms perfectly correct dream thoughts which are 
equivalent to normal thoughts, while the other 
treats these ideas in a highly surprising and incor 
rect manner. The latter process we have already 
set apart as the dream-work proper. What have 
we now to advance concerning this latter psychic 
process ? 

We should be unable to answer this question here 
if we had not penetrated considerably into the psy 
chology of the neuroses and especially of hysteria. 
From this we learn that the same incorrect psychic 
processes as well as others that have not been 
enumerated control the formation of hysterical 


symptoms. In hysteria, too, we at once find a 
series of perfectly correct thoughts equivalent to 
our conscious thoughts, of whose existence, how 
ever, in this form we can learn nothing and which 
we can only subsequently reconstruct. If they 
have forced their way anywhere to our perception, 
we discover from the analysis of the symptom 
formed that these normal thoughts have been sub 
jected to abnormal treatment and have been trans 
formed into the symptom by means of condensa 
tion and compromise formation, through superficial 
associations, under cover of contradictions, and 
eventually over the road of regression. In view of 
the complete identity found between the peculiari 
ties of the dream-work and of the psychic activity 
forming the psychoneurotic symptoms, we shall 
feel justified in transferring to the dream the con 
clusions urged upon us by hysteria. 

From the theory of hysteria we borrow the prop 
osition that such an abnormal psychic elaboration 
of a normal train of thought takes place only when 
the latter has been used for the transference of an 
unconscious wish which dates from the infantile life 
and is in a state of repression. In accordance with 
this proposition we have construed the theory of 
the dream on the assumption that the actuating 
dream -wish invariably originates in the unconscious, 


which, as we ourselves have admitted, cannot be 
universally demonstrated though it cannot be re 
futed. But in order to explain the real meaning of 
the term repression, which we have employed so 
freely, we shall be obliged to make some further 
addition to our psychological construction. 

We have above elaborated the fiction of a primi 
tive psychic apparatus, whose work is regulated by 
the efforts to avoid accumulation of excitement and 
as far as possible to maintain itself free from ex 
citement. For this reason it was constructed after 
the plan of a reflex apparatus ; the motility, origin 
ally the path for the inner bodily change, formed a 
discharging path standing at its disposal. We 
subsequently discussed the psychic results of a feel 
ing of gratification, and we might at the same time 
have introduced the second assumption, viz. that 
accumulation of excitement following certain 
modalities that do not concern us is perceived as 
pain and sets the apparatus in motion in order to 
reproduce a feeling of gratification in which the 
diminution of the excitement is perceived as pleas 
ure. Such a current in the apparatus which ema 
nates from pain and strives for pleasure we call a 
wish. We have said that nothing but a wish is 
capable of setting the apparatus in motion, and 
that the discharge of excitement in the apparatus 


is regulated automatically by the perception of 
pleasure and pain. The first wish must have been 
an hallucinatory occupation of the memory for 
gratification. But this hallucination, unless it were 
maintained to the point of exhaustion, proved in 
capable of bringing about a cessation of the desire 
and consequently of securing the pleasure connected 
with gratification. 

Thus there was required a second activity in 
our terminology the activity of a second system 
which should not permit the memory occupation to 
advance to perception and therefrom to restrict the 
psychic forces, but should lead the excitement 
emanating from the craving stimulus by a devious 
path over the spontaneous motility which ultimately 
should so change the outer world as to allow the 
real perception of the object of gratification to 
take place. Thus far we have elaborated the plan 
of the psychic apparatus ; these two systems are the 
germ of the Unc. and Forec. which we include in 
the fully developed apparatus. 

In order to be in a position successfully to change 
the outer world through the motility, there is re 
quired the accumulation of a large sum of experi 
ences in the memory systems as well as a manifold 
fixation of the relations which are evoked in this 
memory material by different end-presentations. 


We now proceed further with our assumption. 
The manifold activity of the second system, tenta 
tively sending forth and retracting energy, must 
on the one hand have full command over all mem 
ory material, but on the other hand it would be a 
superfluous expenditure for it to send to the in 
dividual mental paths large quantities of energy 
which would thus flow off to no purpose, diminish 
ing the quantity available for the transformation 
of the outer world. In the interests of expediency 
I therefore postulate that the second system suc 
ceeds in maintaining the greater part of the occupa 
tion energy in a dormant state and in using but a 
small portion for the purposes of displacement. 
The mechanism of these processes is entirely un 
known to me; any one who wishes to follow up 
these ideas must try to find the physical analogies 
and prepare the way for a demonstration of the 
process of motion in the stimulation of the neuron. 
I merely hold to the idea that the activity of the 
first *- system is directed to the free outflow of the 
quantities of excitement, and that the second sys 
tem brings about an inhibition of this outflow 
through the energies emanating from it, i.e. it pro 
duces a transformation into dormant energy, prob 
ably by raising the level. I therefore assume that 
under the control of the second system as compared 


with the first, the course of the excitement is bound 
to entirely different mechanical conditions. After 
the second system has finished its tentative mental 
work, it removes the inhibition and congestion of 
the excitements and allows these excitements to flow 
off to the motility. 

An interesting train of thought now presents 
itself if we consider the relations of this inhibition 
of discharge by the second system to the regulation 
through the principle of pain. Let us now seek 
the counterpart of the primary feeling of gratifica 
tion, namely, the objective feeling of fear. A per 
ceptive stimulus acts on the primitive apparatus, 
becoming the source of a painful emotion. This 
will then be followed by irregular motor manifesta 
tions until one of these withdraws the apparatus 
from perception and at the same time from pain, 
but on the reappearance of the perception this mani 
festation will immediately repeat itself (perhaps 
as a movement of flight) until the perception has 
again disappeared. But there will here remain no 
tendency again to occupy the perception of the 
source of pain in the form of an hallucination or in 
any other form. On the contrary, there will be a 
tendency in the primary apparatus to abandon the 
painful memory picture as soon as it is in any way 
awakened, as the overflow of its excitement would 


surely produce (rnpre precisely, begin to produce) 
pain. The deviation from memory, which is but 
a repetition of the former flight from perception, 
is facilitated also by the fact that, unlike perception, 
memory does not possess sufficient quality to excite 
consciousness and thereby to attract to itself new 
energy. This easy and regularly occurring devia 
tion of the psychic process from the former painful 
memory presents to us the model and the first ex 
ample of psychic repression. As is generally 
known, much of this deviation from the painful, 
much of the behavior of the ostrich, can be readily 
demonstrated even in the normal psychic life of 

By virtue of the principle of pain the first system 
is therefore altogether incapable of introducing 
anything unpleasant into the mental associations. 
The system cannot do anything but wish. If this 
remained so the mental activity of the second sys 
tem, which should have at its disposal all the mem 
ories stored up by experiences, would be hindered. 
But two ways are now opened : the work of the sec 
ond system either frees itself completely from the 
principle of pain and continues its course, paying 
no heed to the painful reminiscence, or it contrives 
to occupy the painful memory in such a manner as 
to preclude the liberation of pain. We may reject 


the first possibility, as the principle of pain also 
manifests itself as a regulator for the emotional dis 
charge of the second system; we are, therefore, di 
rected to the second possibility, namely, that this 
system occupies a reminiscence in such a manner as 
to inhibit its discharge and hence, also, to inhibit 
the discharge comparable to a motor innervation 
for the development of pain. Thus from two start 
ing points we are led to the hypothesis that occupa 
tion through the second system is at the same time 
an inhibition for the emotional discharge, viz. from 
a consideration of the principle of pain and from 
the principle of the smallest expenditure of inner 
vation. Let us, however, keep to the fact this is 
the key to the theory of repression that the second 
system is capable of occupying an idea only when 
it. is in position to clieck the development of pain 
emanating from it. Whatever withdraws itself 
from this inhibition also remains inaccessible for the 
second system and would soon be abandoned by 
virtue of the principle of pain. The inhibition of 
pain, however, need not be complete; it must be 
permitted to begin, as it indicates to the second 
system the nature of the memory and possibly its 
defective adaptation for the purpose sought by the 

The psychic process which is admitted by the 


first system only I shall now call the primary pro 
cess; and the one resulting from the inhibition of 
the second system I shall call the secondary pro 
cess. I show by another point for what purpose 
the second system is obliged to correct the primary 
process. The primary process strives for a dis 
charge of the excitement in order to establish a 
perception identity with the sum of excitement thus 
gathered ; the secondary process has abandoned this 
intention and undertaken instead the task of bring 
ing about a thought identity. All thinking is only 
a circuitous path from the memory of gratification 
taken as an end-presentation to the identical oc 
cupation of the same memory, which is again to be 
attained on the track of the motor experiences. 
The state of thinking must take an interest in the 
connecting paths between the presentations without 
allowing itself to be misled by their intensities. 
But it is obvious that condensations and intermedi 
ate or compromise formations occurring in the 
presentations impede the attainment of this end- 
identity ; by substituting one idea for the other they 
deviate from the path which otherwise would have 
been continued from the original idea. Such pro 
cesses are therefore carefully avoided in the second 
ary thinking. Nor is it difficult to understand that 
the principle of pain also impedes the progress of 


the mental stream in its pursuit of the thought 
identity, though, indeed, it offers to the mental 
stream the most important points of departure. 
Hence the tendency of the thinking process must 
be to free itself more and more from exclusive ad 
justment by the principle of pain, and through the 
working of the mind to restrict the affective de 
velopment to that minimum which is necessary as 
a signal. This refinement of the activity must have 
been attained through a recent over-occupation of 
energy brought about by consciousness. But we 
are aware that this refinement is seldom completely 
successful even in the most normal psychic life and 
that our thoughts ever remain accessible to falsifica 
tion through the interference of the principle of 

This, however, is not the breach in the functional 
efficiency of our psychic apparatus through which 
the thoughts forming the material of the secondary 
mental work are enabled to make their way into 
the primary psychic process with which formula 
we may now describe the work leading to the dream 
and to the hysterical symptoms. This case of in 
sufficiency results from the union of the two factors 
from the history of our evolution; one of which be 
longs solely to the psychic apparatus and has ex 
erted a determining influence on the relation of the 


two systems, while the other operates fluctuatingly 
and introduces motive forces of organic origin into 
the psychic life. Both originate in the infantile life 
and result from the transformation which our psy 
chic and somatic organism has undergone since the 
infantile period. 

When I termed one of the psychic processes in 
the psychic apparatus the primary process, I did so 
not only in consideration of the order of precedence 
and capability, but also as admitting the temporal 
relations to a share in the nomenclature. As far as 
our knowledge goes there is no psychic apparatus 
possessing only the primary process, and in so far 
it is a theoretic fiction; but so much is based on fact 
that the primary processes are present in the ap 
paratus from the beginning, while the secondary 
processes develop gradually in the course of life, 
inhibiting and covering the primary ones, and gain 
ing complete mastery over them perhaps only at the 
height of life. Owing to this retarded appearance 
of the secondary processes, the essence of our be 
ing, consisting in unconscious wish feelings, can 
neither be seized nor inhibited by the f oreconscious, 
whose part is once for all restricted to the indication 
of the most suitable paths for the wish feelings or 
iginating in the unconscious. These unconscious 
wishes establish for all subsequent psychic efforts 


a compulsion to which they have to submit and 
which they must strive if possible to divert from its 
course and direct to higher aims. In consequence 
of this retardation of the foreconscious occupation 
a large sphere of the memory material remains in 

Among these indestructible and unincumbered 
wish feelings originating from the infantile life, 
there are also some, the fulfillments of which have 
entered into a relation of contradiction to the end- 
presentation of the secondary thinking. The ful 
fillment of these wishes would no longer produce an 
affect of pleasure but one of pain; and it is just this 
transformation of affect that constitutes the nature 
of what we designate as "repression" in which we 
recognize the infantile first step of passing adverse 
sentence or of rejecting through reason. To in 
vestigate in what way and through what motive 
forces such a transformation can be produced con 
stitutes the problem of repression, which we need 
here only skim over. It will suffice to remark that 
such a transformation of affect occurs in the course 
of development (one may think of the appearance 
in infantile life of disgust which was originally ab 
sent), and that it is connected with the activity of 
the secondary system. The memories from which 
the unconscious wish brings about the emotional dis- 


charge have never been accessible to the Force., and 
for that reason their emotional discharge cannot be 
inhibited. It is just on account of this affective 
development that these ideas are not even now ac 
cessible to the foreconscious thoughts to which they 
have transferred their wishing power. On the con 
trary, the principle of pain comes into play, and 
causes the Force, to deviate from these thoughts of 
transference. The latter, left to themselves, are 
"repressed," and thus the existence of a store of in 
fantile memories, from the very beginning with 
drawn from the Force., becomes the preliminary 
condition of repression. 

In the most favorable case the development of 
pain terminates as soon as the energy has been with 
drawn from the thoughts of transference in the 
Force., and this effect characterizes the intervention 
of the principle of pain as expedient. It is differ 
ent, however, if the repressed unconscious wish re 
ceives an organic enforcement which it can lend to 
its thoughts of transference and through which it 
can enable them to make an effort towards pene 
tration with their excitement, even after they have 
been abandoned by the occupation of the Force. 
A defensive struggle then ensues, inasmuch as the 
Force, reinforces the antagonism against the re 
pressed ideas, and subsequently this leads to a pen- 


etration by the thoughts of transference (the car 
riers of the unconscious wish) in some form of com 
promise through symptom formation. But from 
the moment that the suppressed thoughts are pow 
erfully occupied by the unconscious wish-feeling 
and abandoned by the foreconscious occupation, 
they succumb to the primary psychic process and 
strive only for motor discharge; or, if the path be 
free, for hallucinatory revival of the desired percep 
tion identity. We have previously found, empiri 
cally, that the incorrect processes described are en 
acted only with thoughts that exist in the repres 
sion. We now grasp another part of the connec 
tion. These incorrect processes are those that are 
primary in the psychic apparatus; they appear 
wherever thoughts abandoned by the foreconscious 
occupation are left to themselves, and can fill them 
selves with the uninhibited energy, striving for dis 
charge from the unconscious. We may add a few 
further observations to support the view that these 
processes designated "incorrect" are really not 
falsifications of the normal defective thinking, but 
the modes of activity of the psychic apparatus when 
freed from inhibition. Thus we see that the trans 
ference of the f orecopscious excitement to the motil- 
ity takes place according to the same processes, and 
that the connection of the foreconscious presenta- 


tions with words readily manifest the same displace 
ments and mixtures which are ascribed to inatten 
tion. Finally, I should like to adduce proof that 
an increase of work necessarily results from the in 
hibition of these primary courses from the fact that 
we gain a comical effect, a surplus to be discharged 
through laughter, if we allow these streams of 
thought to come to consciousness. 

The theory of the psychoneuroses asserts with 
complete certainty that only sexual wish-feelings 
from the infantile life experience repression (emo 
tional transformation) during the developmental 
period of childhood. These are capable of return 
ing to activity at a later period of development, and 
then have the faculty of being revived, either as a 
consequence of the sexual constitution, which is 
really formed from the original bisexuality, or in 
consequence of unfavorable influences of the sexual 
life ; and they thus supply the motive power for all 
psychoneurotic symptom formations. It is only 
by the introduction of these sexual forces that the 
gaps still demonstrable in the theory of repression 
can be filled. I will leave it undecided whether the 
postulate of the sexual and infantile may also be 
asserted for the theory of the dream; I leave this 
here unfinished because I have already passed a 
step beyond the demonstrable in assuming that the 


dream-wish invariably originates from the uncon 
scious. 1 Nor will I further investigate the differ 
ence in the play of the psychic forces in the dream 
formation and in the formation of the hysterical 
symptoms, for to do this we ought to possess a more 
explicit knowledge of one of the members to be 
compared. But I regard another point as impor 
tant, and will here confess that it was on account 

i Here, as in other places, there are gaps in the treatment of the 
subject, which I have left intentionally, because to fill them up would 
require on the one hand too great effort, and on the other hand an 
extensive reference to material that is foreign to the dream. Thus I 
have avoided stating whether I connect with the word "suppressed" 
another sense than with the word "repressed." It has been made 
clear only that the latter emphasizes more than the former the relation 
to the unconscious. I have not entered into the cognate problem why 
the dream thoughts also experience distortion by the censor when 
they abandon the progressive continuation to consciousness and choose 
the path of regression. I have been above all anxious to awaken an 
interest in the problems to which the further analysis of the dream- 
work leads and to indicate the other themes whch meet these on the 
way. It was not always easy to decide just where the pursuit should 
be discontinued. That I have not treated exhaustively the part 
played in the dream by the psychosexual life and have avoided the 
interpretation of dreams of an obvious sexual content is due to a 
special reason which may not come up to the reader s expectation. 
To be sure, it is very far from my ideas and the principles expressed 
by me in neuropathology to regard the sexual life as a "pudendum" 
which should be left unconsidered by the physician and the scientific 
investigator. I also consider ludicrous the moral indjgnation which 
prompted the translator of Artemidoros of Daldis to keep from the 
reader s knowledge the chapter on sexual dreams contained in the 
Symbolism of the Dreams. As for myself, I have been actuated 
solely by the conviction that in the explanation of sexual dreams 
I should be bound to entangle myself deeply in the still unexplained 
problems of perversion and bisexuality; and for that reason I hav 
reserved this material for another connection. 


of this very point that I have just undertaken this 
entire discussion concerning the two .psychic sys 
tems, their modes of operation, and the repression. 
For it is now immaterial whether I have conceived 
the psychological relations in question with ap 
proximate correctness, or, as is easily possible in 
such a difficult matter, in an erroneous and frag 
mentary manner. Whatever changes may be made 
in the interpretation of the psychic censor and of 
the correct and of the abnormal elaboration of the 
dream content, the fact nevertheless remains that 
such processes are active in dream formation, and 
that essentially they show the closest analogy to 
the processes observed in the formation of the 
hysterical symptoms. The dream is not a patho 
logical phenomenon, and it does not leave behind 
an enfeeblement of the mental faculties. The ob 
jection that no deduction can be drawn regarding 
the dreams of healthy persons from my own dreams 
and from those of neurotic patients may be rejected 
without comment. Hence, when we draw conclu 
sions from the phenomena as to their motive forces, 
we recognize that the psychic mechanism made use 
of by the neuroses is not created by a morbid dis 
turbance of the psychic life, but is found ready in 
the normal structure of the psychic apparatus. 
The two psychic systems, the censor crossing be- 


tween them, the inhibition and the covering of the 
one activity by the other, the relations of both to 
consciousness or whatever may offer a more cor 
rect interpretation of the actual conditions in their 
stead all these belong to the normal structure of 
our psychic instrument, and the dream points out 
for us one of the roads leading to a knowledge of 
this structure. If, in addition to our knowledge, 
we wish to be contented with a minimum perfectly 
established, we shall say that the dream gives us 
proof that the suppressed, material continues to 
exist even in the normal person and remains capable 
of psychic activity. The dream itself is one of the 
manifestations of this suppressed material; theor 
etically, this is true in all cases; according to sub 
stantial experience it is true in at least a great num 
ber of such as most conspicuously display the 
prominent characteristics of dream life. The sup 
pressed psychic material, which in the waking state 
has been prevented from expression and cut off 
from internal perception by the antagonistic ad 
justment of the contradictions, finds ways and 
means of obtruding itself on consciousness during 
the night under the domination of the compromise 

"Fleet ere si nequeo super os 9 Acheronta movebo * 


At any rate the interpretation of dreams is the 
via regia to a knowledge of the unconscious in the 
psychic life. 

In following the analysis of the dream we have 
made some progress toward an understanding of 
the composition of this most marvelous and most 
mysterious of instruments; to he sure, we have not 
gone very.far, but enough of a beginning has been 
made to allow us to advance from other so-called 
pathological formations further into the analysis 
of the unconscious. Disease at least that which 
is justly termed functional is not due to the de 
struction of this apparatus, and the establishment 
of new splittings in its interior; it is rather to be ex 
plained dynamically through the strengthening and 
weakening of the components in the play of forces 
by which so many activities are concealed during 
the normal function. We have been able to show 
in another place how the composition of the ap 
paratus from the two systems permits a subtiliza- 
tion even of the normal activity which would be im 
possible for a single system. 



ON closer inspection we find that it is not the ex 
istence of two systems near the motor end of the 
apparatus but of two kinds of processes or modes 
of emotional discharge, the assumption of which 
was explained in the psychological discussions of 
the previous chapter. This can make no difference 
for us, for we must always be ready to drop our 
auxiliary ideas whenever we deem ourselves in posi 
tion to replace them by something else approaching 
more closely to the unknown reality. Let us now 
try to correct some views which might be errone 
ously formed as long as we regarded the two sys 
tems in the crudest and most obvious sense as two 
localities within the psychic apparatus, views which 
have left their traces in the terms "repression" and 
"penetration." Thus, when we say that an uncon 
scious idea strives for transference into the fore- 
conscious in order later to penetrate consciousness, 
we do not mean that a second idea is to be formed 

situated in a new locality like an interlineation near 



which the original continues to remain; also, when 
we speak of penetration into consciousness, we wish 
carefully to avoid any idea of change of locality. 
When we say that a f oreconscious idea is repressed 
and subsequently taken up by the unconscious, we 
might be tempted by these figures, borrowed from 
the idea of a struggle over a territory, to assume 
that an arrangement is really broken up in one 
psychic locality and replaced by a new one in the 
other locality. For these comparisons we substi 
tute what would seem to correspond better with the 
real state of affairs by saying that an energy occupa 
tion is displaced to or withdrawn from a certain 
arrangement so that the psychic formation falls 
under the domination of a system or is withdrawn 
from the same. Here again we replace a topical 
mode of presentation by a dynamic; it is not the 
psychic formation that appears to us as the moving 
factor but the innervation of the same. 

I deem it appropriate and justifiable, however, to 
apply ourselves still further to the illustrative con 
ception of the two systems. We shall avoid any 
misapplication of this manner of representation if 
we remember that presentations, thoughts, and psy 
chic formations should generally not be localized 
in the organic elements of the nervous system, but, 
so to speak, between them, where resistances and 


paths form the correlate corresponding to them. 
Everything that can become an object of our in 
ternal perception is virtual, like the image in the 
telescope produced by the passage of the rays of 
light. But we are justified in assuming the ex 
istence of the systems, which have nothing psychic 
in themselves and which never become accessible to 
our psychic perception, corresponding to the lenses 
of the telescope which design the image. If we 
continue this comparison, we may say that the cen 
sor between two systems corresponds to the refrac 
tion of rays during their passage into a new me 

Thus far we have made psychology on our own 
responsibility; it is now time to examine the the 
oretical opinions governing present-day psychology 
and to test their relation to our theories. The ques 
tion of the unconscious in psychology is, according 
to the authoritative words of Lipps, less a psycho 
logical question than the question of psychology. 
As long as psychology settled this question with the 
verbal explanation that the "psychic" is the "con 
scious" and that "unconscious psychic occurrences" 
are an obvious contradiction, a psychological esti 
mate of the observations gained by the physician 
from abnormal mental states was precluded. The 
physician and the philosopher agree only when both 


acknowledge that unconscious psychic processes are 
"the appropriate and well- justified expression for 
an established fact." The physician cannot but re 
ject with a shrug of his shoulders the assertion that 
"consciousness is the indispensable quality of the 
psychic"; he may assume, if his respect for the ut- 
terings of the philosophers still be strong enough, 
that he and they do not treat the same subject and 
do not pursue the same science. For a single intel 
ligent observation of the psychic life of a neurotic, 
a single analysis of a dream must force upon him 
the unalterable conviction that the most complicated 
and correct mental operations, to which no one will 
refuse the name of psychic occurrences, may take 
place without exciting the consciousness of the per 
son. It is true that the physician does not learn of 
these unconscious processes until they have exerted 
such an effect on consciousness as to admit com 
munication or observation. But this effect of con 
sciousness may show a psychic character widely dif 
fering from the unconscious process, so that the 
internal perception cannot possibly recognize the 
one as a substitute for the other. The physician 
must reserve for himself the right to penetrate, by 
a process of deduction, from the effect on conscious 
ness to the unconscious psychic process; he learns 
in this way that the effect on consciousness is only 


a remote psychic product of the unconscious process 
and that the latter has not become conscious as such ; 
that it has been in existence and operative without 
betraying itself in any way to consciousness. 

A reaction from the over-estimation of the qual 
ity of consciousness becomes the indispensable pre 
liminary condition for any correct insight into the 
behavior of the psychic. In the words of Lipps, 
the unconscious must be accepted as the general 
basis of the psychic life. The unconscious is the 
larger circle which includes within itself the smaller 
circle of the conscious; everything conscious has its 
preliminary step in the unconscious, whereas the 
unconscious may stop with this step and still claim 
full value as a psychic activity. Properly speak 
ing, the unconscious is the real psychic; its inner 
nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the 
external world, and it is just as imperfectly re 
ported to us through the data of consciousness as is 
the external world through the indications of our 
sensory organs. 

A series of dream problems which have intensely 
occupied older authors will be laid aside when the 
old opposition between conscious life and dream life 
is abandoned and the unconscious psychic assigned 
to its proper place. Thus many of the activities 
whose performances in the dream have excited our 


admiration are now no longer to be attributed to the 
dream but to unconscious thinking, which is also 
active during the day. If, according to Schemer, 
the dream seems to play with a symboling represen 
tation of the body, we know that this is the work of 
certain unconscious phantasies which have probably 
given in to sexual emotions, and that these phan 
tasies come to expression not only in dreams but 
also in hysterical phobias and in other symptoms. 
If the dream continues and settles activities of the 
day and even brings to light valuable inspirations, 
we have only to subtract from it the dream disguise 
as a feat of dream-work and a mark of assistance 
from obscure forces in the depth of the mind (cf. 
the devil in Tartini s sonata dream). The intel 
lectual task as such must be attributed to the same 
psychic forces which perform all such tasks during 
the day. We are probably far too much inclined 
to over-estimate the conscious character even of in 
tellectual and artistic productions. From the com 
munications of some of the most highly productive 
persons, such as Goethe and Helmholtz, we learn, 
indeed, that the most essential and original parts 
in their creations came to them in the form of in 
spirations and reached their perceptions almost fin 
ished. There is nothing strange about the assist 
ance of the conscious activity in other cases where 


there was a concerted effort of all the psychic forces. 
But it is a much abused privilege of the conscious 
activity that it is allowed to hide from us all other 
activities wherever it participates. 

It will hardly be worth while to take up the his 
torical significance of dreams as a special subject. 
Where, for instance, a chieftain has been urged 
through a dream to engage in a bold undertaking 
the success of which has had the effect of changing 
history, a new problem results only so long as the 
dream, regarded as a strange power, is contrasted 
with other more familiar psychic forces; the prob 
lem, however, disappears when we regard the dream 
as a form of expression for feelings which are bur 
dened with resistance during the day and which can 
receive reinforcements at night from deep emotional 
sources. But the great respect shown by the an 
cients for the dream is based on a correct psycho 
logical surmise. It is a homage paid to the un 
subdued and indestructible in the human mind, and 
to the demoniacal which furnishes the dream-wish 
and which we find again in our unconscious. 

Not inadvisedly do I use the expression "in our 
unconscious," for what we so designate does not 
coincide with the unconscious of the philosophers, 
nor with the unconscious of Lipps. In the latter 
uses it is intended to designate only the opposite of 


conscious. That there are also unconscious psy 
chic processes beside the conscious ones is the hotly 
contested and energetically defended issue. Lipps 
gives us the more far-reaching theory that every 
thing psychic exists as unconscious, but that some 
of it may exist also as conscious. But it was not 
to prove this theory that we have adduced the 
phenomena of the dream and of the hysterical 
symptom formation; the observation of normal life 
alone suffices to establish its correctness beyond any 
.doubt. The new fact that we have learned from 
the analysis of the psychopathological formations, 
and indeed from their first member, viz. dreams, is 
that the unconscious hence the psychic occurs as 
a function of two separate systems and that it oc 
curs as such even in normal psychic life. Conse 
quently there are two kinds of unconscious, which 
we do not as yet find distinguished by the psycho 
logists. Both are unconscious in the psychological 
sense ; but iri our sense the first, which we call Unc., 
is likewise incapable of consciousness, whereas the 
second we term "Force." because its emotions, after 
the observance of certain rules, can reach conscious 
ness, perhaps not before they have again undergone 
censorship, but still regardless of the Unc. system. 
The fact that in order to attain consciousness the 
emotions must traverse an unalterable series of 


events or succession of instances, as is betrayed 
through their alteration by the censor, has helped 
us to draw a comparison from spatiality. We de 
scribed the relations of the two systems to each 
other and to consciousness by saying that the sys 
tem Force, is like a screen between the system Unc. 
and consciousness. The system Force, not only 
bars access to consciousness, but also controls the 
entrance to voluntary motility and is capable of 
sending out a sum of mobile energy, a portion of 
which is familiar to us as attention. 

We must also steer clear of the distinctions siiper- 
conscious and subconscious which have found so 
much favor in the more recent literature on the 
psychoneuroses, for just such a distinction seems to 
emphasize the equivalence of the psychic and the 

What part now remains in our description of the 
once all-powerful and all-overshadowing conscious 
ness ? None other than that of a sensory organ for 
the perception of psychic qualities. According to 
the fundamental idea of schematic undertaking we 
can conceive the conscious perception only as the 
particular activity of an independent system for 
which the abbreviated designation "Cons." com 
mends itself. This system we conceive to be similar 
in its mechanical characteristics to the perception 


system P, hence excitable by qualities and incapa 
ble of retaining the trace of changes, i.e. it is devoid 
of memory. The psychic apparatus which, with 
the sensory organs of the P-system, is turned to 
the outer world, is itself the outer world for the 
sensory organ of Cons.; the teleological justifica 
tion of which rests on this relationship. We are 
here once more confronted with the principle of the 
succession of instances which seems to dominate the 
structure of the apparatus. The material under 
excitement flows to the Cons, sensory organ from 
two sides, firstly from the P-system whose excite 
ment, qualitatively determined, probably experi 
ences a new elaboration until it comes to, conscious 
perception; and, secondly, from the interior of the 
apparatus itself, the quantitative processes of which 
are perceived as a qualitative series of pleasure and 
pain as soon as they have undergone certain 

The philosophers, who have learned that correct 
and highly complicated thought structures are pos 
sible even without the cooperation of consciousness, 
have found it difficult to attribute any function to 
consciousness ; it has appeared to them a superfluous 
mirroring of the perfected psychic process. The 
analogy of our Cons, system with the systems of 
perception relieves us of this embarrassment. We 


see that perception through our sensory organs re 
sults in directing the occupation of attention to 
those paths on which the incoming sensory excite 
ment is diffused; the qualitative excitement of the 
P-system serves the mobile quantity of the psychic 
apparatus as a regulator for its discharge. We 
may claim the same function for the overlying 
sensory organ of the Cons, system. By assuming 
new qualities, it furnishes a new contribution to 
ward the guidance and suitable distribution of the 
mobile occupation quantities. By means of the 
perceptions of pleasure and pain, it influences the 
course of the occupations within the psychic ap 
paratus, which normally operates unconsciously 
and through the displacement of quantities. It is 
probable that the principle of pain first regulates 
the displacements of occupation automatically, but 
it is quite possible that the consciousness of these 
qualities adds a second and more subtle regulation 
which may even oppose the first and perfect the 
working capacity of the apparatus by placing it in 
a position contrary to its original design for oc 
cupying and developing even that which is con 
nected with the liberation of pain. We learn from 
neuropsychology that an important part in the 
functional activity of the apparatus is attributed to 
such regulations through the qualitative excitation 


of the sensory organs. The automatic control of 
the primary principle of pain and the restriction of 
mental capacity connected with it are broken by the 
sensible regulations, which in their turn are again 
automatisms. We learn that the repression which, 
though originally expedient, terminates neverthe 
less in a harmful rejection of inhibition and of psy 
chic domination, is so much more easily accom 
plished with reminiscences than with perceptions, 
because in the former there is no increase in occupa 
tion through the excitement of the psychic sensory 
organs. When an idea to be rejected has once 
failed to become conscious because it has succumbed 
to repression, it can be repressed on other occasions 
only because it has been withdrawn from conscious 
perception on other grounds. These are hints em 
ployed by therapy in order to bring about a retro 
gression of accomplished repressions. 

The value of the over-occupation which is pro 
duced by the regulating influence of the Cons, sen 
sory organ on the mobile quantity, is demonstrated 
in the teleological connection by nothing more 
clearly than by the creation of a new series of quali 
ties and consequently a new regulation which con 
stitutes the precedence of man over the animals. 
For the mental processes are in themselves devoid 
of quality except for the excitements of pleasure 


and pain accompanying them, which, as we know, 
are to be held in check as possible disturbances of 
thought. In order to endow them with a quality, 
they are associated in man with verbal memories, 
the qualitative remnants of which suffice to draw 
upon them the attention of consciousness which in 
turn endows thought with a new mobile energy. 

The manifold problems of consciousness in their 
entirety can be examined only through an analysis 
of the hysterical mental process. From this an 
alysis we receive the impression that the transition 
from the foreconscious to the occupation of con 
sciousness is also connected with a censorship similar 
to the one between the Unc. and the Force. This 
censorship, too, begins to act only with the reaching 
of a certain quantitative degree, so that few intense 
thought formations escape it. Every possible case 
of detention from consciousness, as well as of pene 
tration to consciousness, under restriction is found 
included within the picture of the psychoneurotic 
phenomena; every case points to the intimate and 
twofold connection between the censor and con 
sciousness. I shall conclude these psychological 
discussions with the report of two such occurrences. 

On the occasion of a consultation a few years ago 
the subject was an intelligent and innocent-looking 
girl. Her attire was strange; whereas a woman s 


garb is usually groomed to the last fold, she had one 
of her stockings hanging down and two of her waist 
buttons opened. She complained of pains in one 
of her legs, and exposed her leg unrequested. Her 
chief complaint, however, was in her own words as 
follows : She had a feeling in her body as if some 
thing was stuck into it which moved to and fro and 
made her tremble through and through. This 
sometimes made her whole body stiff. On hearing 
this, my colleague in consultation looked at me; the 
complaint was quite plain to him. To both of us 
it seemed peculiar that the patient s mother thought 
nothing of the matter; of course she herself must 
have been repeatedly in the situation described by 
her child. As for the girl, she had no idea of the 
import of her words or she would never have al 
lowed them to pass her lips. Here the censor had 
been deceived so successfully that under the mask 
of an innocent complaint a phantasy was admitted 
to consciousness which otherwise would have re 
mained in the foreconscious. 

Another example: I began the psychoanalytic 
treatment of a boy of fourteen years who was suffer 
ing from tic convulsif, hysterical vomiting, head 
ache, &c., by assuring him that, after closing his 
eyes, he would see pictures or have ideas, which I 
requested him to communicate to me. He an- 


swered by describing pictures. The last impres 
sion he had received before coming to me \*as visu 
ally revived in his memory. He had played a game 
of checkers with his uncle, and now saw the checker 
board before him. He commented on various posi 
tions that were favorable or unfavorable, on moves 
that were not safe to make. He then saw a dagger 
lying on the checker-board, an object belonging to 
his father, but transferred to the checker-board by 
his phantasy. Then a sickle was lying on the 
board ; next a scythe was added ; and, finally, he be 
held the likeness of an old peasant mowing the 
grass in front of the boy s distant parental home. 
A few days later I discovered the meaning of this 
series of pictures. Disagreeable family relations 
had made the boy nervous. It was the case of a 
strict and crabbed father who lived unhappily with 
his mother, and whose educational methods con 
sisted in threats; of the separation of his father 
from his tender and delicate mother, and the re 
marrying of his father, who one day brought home 
a young woman as his new mamma. The illness 
of the fourteen-year-old boy broke out a few days 
later. It was the suppressed anger against his fa 
ther that had composed these pictures into intel 
ligible allusions. The material was furnished by a 
reminiscence from mythology. The sickle was the 


one with which Zeus castrated his father; the scythe 
and the likeness of the peasant represented Kronos, 
the violent old man who eats his children and upon 
whom Zeus wreaks vengeance in so unfilial a man 
ner. The marriage of the father gave the boy an 
opportunity to return the reproaches and threats 
of his father which had previously been made be 
cause the child played with his genitals (the checker 
board; the prohibitive moves; the dagger with 
which a person may be killed) . We have here long 
repressed memories and their unconscious remnants 
which, under the guise of senseless pictures have 
slipped into consciousness by devious paths left 
open to them. 

I should then expect to find the theoretical value 
of the study of dreams in its contribution to psy 
chological knowledge and in its preparation for an 
understanding of neuroses. Who can foresee the 
importance of a thorough knowledge of the struc 
ture and activities of the psychic apparatus when 
even our present state of knowledge produces a 
happy therapeutic influence in the curable forms of 
the psychoneuroses? What about the practical 
value of such study some one may ask, for psychic 
knowledge and for the discovering of the secret 
peculiarities of individual character ? Have not the 
unconscious feelings revealed by the dream the 


value of real forces in the psychic life? Should we 
take lightly the ethical significance of the sup 
pressed wishes which, as they now create dreams, 
may some day create other things? 

I do not feel justified in answering these ques 
tions. I have not thought further upon this side of 
the dream problem. I believe, however, that at all 
events the Roman Emperor was in the wrong who 
ordered one of his subjects executed because the 
latter dreamt that he had killed the Emperor. He 
should first have endeavored to discover the signifi 
cance of the dream ; most probably it was not what 
it seemed to be. And even if a dream of different 
content had the significance of this offense against 
majesty, it would still have been in place to remem 
ber the words of Plato, that the virtuous man con 
tents himself with dreaming that which the wicked 
man does in actual life. I am therefore of the 
opinion that it is best to accord freedom to dreams. 
Whether any reality is to be attributed to the un 
conscious wishes, and in what sense, I am not pre 
pared to say offhand. Reality must naturally be 
denied to all transition and intermediate thoughts. 
If we had before us the unconscious wishes, brought 
to their last and truest expression, we should still 
do well to remember that more than one single form 
of existence must be ascribed to the psychic reality. 


Action and the conscious expression of thought 
mostly suffice for the practical need of judging a 
man s character. Action, above all, merits to be 
placed in the first rank; for many of the impulses 
penetrating consciousness are neutralized by real 
forces of the psychic life before they are converted 
into action; indeed, the reason why they frequently 
do not .encounter any psychic obstacle on their way 
is because the unconscious is certain of their meet 
ing with resistances later. In any case it is instruc 
tive to become familiar with the much raked-up soil 
from which our virtues proudly arise. For the 
complication of human character moving dynami 
cally in all directions very rarely accommodates 
itself to adjustment through a simple alternative, as 
our antiquated moral philosophy would have it. 

And how about the value of the dream for a 
knowledge of the future? That, of course, we can 
not consider. One feels inclined to substitute: 
"for a knowledge of the past." For the dream or 
iginates from the past in every sense. To be sure 
the ancient belief that the dream reveals the future 
is not entirely devoid of truth. By representing to 
us a wish as fulfilled the dream certainly leads us 
into the future; but this future, taken by the 
dreamer as present, has been formed into the like 
ness of that past by the indestructible wish.